Mashup 2.0

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Mashup 2.0! Get it? Actually this blog post was created live tonight (hence typos etc) at the second London Mashup event which was all about “‘Personal Publishing, beyond blogging”.

First speaker

As the main organiser Simon Grice gets to talk at the event but also happens to have founded Midentity.com.

He talked about “Personal Publishing” ( he used Dick Hardt‘s style of presenting which is basically to flash words and pictures up on the screen – actually I’ve done this before but without the pictures – much nastier!).

So Grice reckons blogging changed the media business – which is no longer ‘the big cheese.’ So far, so predictable…

People can now publish, store and link. No big trad media firms have (normally) launched user blogs (but now BBC is investing 110m quid into blogs). ITV bought Friends Reunited, Murdoch bought MySpace blah blah. Oh, and E-Tribes runs blogs.

He thinks it’s about what he defines as ‘personal publishing’, not blogging. In this category falls things like user reviews on Amazon, Craigslist, TripAdvisor.com, and user ratings etc. (I think he’s wrong – these people don’t own media from which they profit, so therefore they are not publishers, just contributors – if powerful ones en masse – there is also the issue of whether they own the copyright).

Most people wouldn’t consider themselves as bloggers, but most people create content in the form of pictures, calendar events, comments on sites, etc. (Actually his theory sounds very similiar to Evan Williams’ “casual content“).

Ideally people would publish from one place and then send it to the place they want it to go, rather than have to log in to various sites. Obviously mobiles could be useful for all this.

Second Speaker

Jamie Kantrowitz SVP Marketing and Content for MySpace (who have landed in London recently) talked about ‘ the hard to reach 14-30 year olds’ on MySpace.com

She says:

MySpace is a place where people Express themselves, connect with Friends and discover popular culture.

They debut albums for artists (hold on, didn’t AOL do this first?). They do classifieds, etc. (go see the site).

“We don’t allow people to publish to other places yet…”

They are doing lots of other things like viral videos (a YouTube rippoff? Surely not), and comedian sections.

They ‘connect brands to the audience’ (read: advertising). However, they don’t ‘veil’ advertising, which is probably why it still exists for this marketing savvy audience.

MySpace now has 70m users.

In the UK they have 2.3m registered users (15,000 users a day) here – hence why they have turned up in London. 16-34 age groups. 21 min per session average usage among users. They claim it’s the 8th highest trafficked site in the UK. Hmnnnn…..

They’ve doubled in size in under a year, and are aiming for 98m users in a couple or so.

[Part of the success is down to people’s vanity (my words!).] The ‘user profile’ is now a metaphor for their room/apartment they spend hours dressing it up.

The ‘MySpace generation’ has grown up with choice and customisation (time shifting content in iPods, TV etc), social networking online, and is comfortable with creating their own content. And it’s no longer geeky to network online or blog or listen to podcasts. For this demographic, it’s mainstream.

Q&A



“We’ve grown twice as fast since we were acquired by The Man” – Kantrowitz on the lack of user backlash since Murdoch bought MySpace.

Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango: Should we trust bloggers “No” (it’s too easy to blog basically, of course).

Tom Bureau, CNet publisher: “We run a lot of highly regarded publishing sites and the research says our products are trusted more than many old media outlets. So users are becoming very canny about what they see on the web. With blogging, there’s general rule of thumb that blogging is about opinion not news and fact, but the youthful demographic is very savvy about blogs.”

Yoz (from the audience): “Urban Myths archives like Snopes show people still circulate urban myths, but it’s about having the skills to work out what’s true.”

Kantrowitz: “You can’t overthink it. A lot of MySpace is entertainment. Some people do it seriously but it won’t produce the next Matt Drudge. It’s a place to put your life online very simply, so it serves its function. NewsCorp is committed to protecting the brand experience of MySpace – but at the end of the day we’re a business. We’d say we are a trusted network.”

On a show of hands most people at the event said MySpace was a good buy for Murdoch, apart from Paul Fisher from First Capital who said “where’s the business and where’s the money?”

Mark Canter from Broadband Mechanics weighed in with thoughts about ‘structured blogging’. He reckons structured content, containing individual pieces, permalinks, event information etc. Blogging slams all that into one giant text block, but he reckons let’s take that flat text and structure it so that it becomes more searchable etc. [Yeah, because people so want to blog in a structured manner as they have SO much time…]

Someone in the audience pointed out that free-tagging is not very structured. But Grice came back with the point that this is being ‘worked on’ by companies. (He means microformats I think? – Meetup, Upcoming,org)

Kantrowitz said MySpace is being attacked by internal hackers all the time to see if they can hack into it – like, doh! – and talked about how MySpace would probably not get into Open Source (ie structured blogging). She added that over a third of the company is involved in making the site safe (so no naughty pictures etc etc). Also people try to create fake Britney profiles all the time – MySpace takes down copyrighted material – of course they admit it might be “good for viral marketing…”

[At this point my powerbook battery died – Macs eh? – however, I took some notes in “bits” (on paper) so I’ll post those later].

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