The next era of the Internet begins

POST

Over on Medium, I wrote about how different eras of the internet have intersected with different U.S. presidencies; with the end of the Trump era, it feels like we are entering a new period on the internet. Read more at i18n on Medium.

LINKS

One year in, Protocol is starting to move on its global expansion plans
Politico’s off-shoot tech site is expanding with international verticals, starting with Protocol China. (Digiday)

Predictions for Journalism 2021
Nieman Lab’s annual tradition of asking smart people in the media business about what will happen in the year ahead is always good fun. This year’s predictions are especially rich (and sharply packaged!), including some great thoughts from An Xiao Mina, Delia Cai, Nicholas Jackson, Nabiha Syed, Taylor Lorenz and Rishad Patel. …


The web is turning another corner.

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Photo by Joshua Sukoff on Unsplash

More than other mediums, the development of the internet matches the different cycles of American presidencies. This is mostly an accident of history, and you might quibble about the dates a bit, but in broad strokes we’ve had four main eras of the web so far:

  • Web 1.0//Clinton Era
  • Web 2.0//Bush Era
  • The Social & Mobile Web//Obama Era
  • Misinformation & The Gig Economy//Trump Era

We are entering a new era right now with the end of the Trump presidency — the actions of Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple just in the last few weeks mark a stark departure from their previous ways of working. …


A truth of any creative work: Collaboration makes the work better.

One of the genuinely exciting and positive long-term trends in media is the growth of independent creators. From blogs to newsletters to YouTubers to streamers, there’s a huge percentage of culture now being created solo.

But as Alexandre Botão argues, this doesn’t mean creators have to, or should, do their work entirely in a vacuum:

The one-man media business never hires a “boss” (or even an “equal”), he hires “help”: an intern, an assistant, maybe he gets lonely, I don’t know. …


🌅 The dawn of the digital media SPAC, plus notes on creators and the globally most-popular Netflix shows of the year

LINKS 🔗

From BuzzFeed to Axios, Digital Media Players Prepare for Deal Frenzy
Seems we’re entering a period of froth for digital media, of consolidation and acquisitions and big deals. Group Nine and BuzzFeed are both reportedly looking at funding growth via a SPAC, a special purpose acquisition company (a good explainer here), and others may be joining the fray. (Wall Street Journal)

Group Nine Media forms a SPAC to fund acquisitions
And it’s already started! Group Nine has filed to create a SPAC, ostensibly to raise money to buy other sites. (Techcrunch)

Breakout year for creator economy
By the numbers, 2020 was a big year for creator-focused services, says Axios: “Nearly every major app geared towards content creators has seen significant percentage increases in downloads this year, according to data from Apptopia.” …


What are yours?

When the world is just being a bit much, here’s a good thing you could do, from Siobhan:

“…we sometimes played a game we called Five Nice Things. It is what it sounds like: You take turns naming things that are nice. Five is the number. It can be a thing that makes you happy, a compliment for the other person, a win at work, “This broccoli is tasty,” whatever. It’s a bit sappy, but it’s not the sappiest, and the rules were: Don’t overthink it, and be specific.”

Here are mine, for today. What are yours?

  1. Sunshine: It’s been cloudy for going on 200 years in brooklyn, but right now there are sun rays poking through the clouds, coming in through my window and warming my feet while I write this. …


Really thrilled to see this out in the world — we’ve been working on a lot of projects to help creators be more successful on Medium, but the new Creators Hub is our first new publication dedicated to helping writers on Medium get better at what they do. It’s already full of useful advice for writers of all stripes, with much, much more to come.


Randomly re-reading the very last thing posted on Gawker, a piece written by founder and publisher Nick Denton outlining the history and demise of the site, published in August 2016.

Makes me wonder about where Gawker would be if it were still alive today, or why it is nothing similar has arisen in its place. Have the power structures Gawker so effectively attacked become too entrenched or too boring to be susceptible to scrutiny? Or has the culture has gotten too diffuse and too decentralized for there to be an operation like Gawker to prod at it as a whole? …


Benedict Evans just wrote up a longer post about the slide from his Summer Update that I highlighted in my last link roundup:

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He makes two great points about TikTok: 1) The U.S. should be thinking about it in the same way Europeans have thought about Facebook/Google/Apple for years; and 2) it’s just the first of what will surely be many dominant non-U.S. owned apps the wrestle with:

There are all sorts of issues with the ways that the US government has addressed Tiktok in 2020, but the most fundamental, I think, is that it has acted as though this is a one-off, rather than understanding that this is the new normal — there will be hundreds more of these. You can’t one-at-a-time this — you need a systematic, repeatable approach. …


Benedict Evans just wrote up a longer post about the slide from his Summer Update that I highlighted in my last link roundup: He makes two great points about TikTok: 1) The U.S. should be thinking about it in the same way Europeans have thought about Facebook/Google/Apple for years; and 2) it’s just the first of what will surely be many dominant non-U.S. owned apps the wrestle with:

Benedict Evans just wrote up a longer post about the slide from his Summer Update that I highlighted in my last link roundup:

Image for post
Image for post

He makes two great points about TikTok: 1) The U.S. should be thinking about it in the same way Europeans have thought about Facebook/Google/Apple for years; and 2) it’s just the first of what will surely be many dominant non-U.S. owned apps the wrestle with:

There are all sorts of issues with the ways that the US government has addressed Tiktok in 2020, but the most fundamental, I think, is that it has acted as though this is a one-off, rather than understanding that this is the new normal — there will be hundreds more of these. You can’t one-at-a-time this — you need a systematic, repeatable approach. …


This week: The paper that ate the internet.

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

So my theory about the digital success of the New York Times goes something like this: It’s the paper that ate the internet. What is the Opinion section if not just a well-edited version of Thought Catalog, with more famous names? Some other recent points to bolster that argument:

  • Starting Trouble With Times Media Columnist Ben Smith (New York)
    I don’t totally get why Ben left BuzzFeed for the Times, but his new job seems like it’s incredibly fun and he’s perfectly suited for it. The same energy that now drives his column was what turned BuzzFeed News into a player, and it’s 100% an internet approach. …

About

Scott Lamb

VP, Publisher Growth & Strategy at Medium.

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