Scott Karp posted a real "eye roller" of a post today suggesting that the problem of too much noise on the web should be solved by people not posting as much. Here's the quote from his article called "Join The Web Content Conservation Movement"...
On the web, everyone can publish — which means we have more content than all the people consuming content on the web can possibly consume.
How did we deal with excesses from technology that damaged the environment? By starting a conservation movement. Remember those stickers encouraging you to turn out the lights?
So why not start a conservation movement on the web?
Next time you’re about to post something to your blog, or Twitter, or Flickr, or YouTube, or any of the 1,000 other publishing platforms, ask yourself this — does this really add value to the web? Or am I publishing just because I can?
That logic leads him to these conclusions
- Filtering the web instead of adding to the content noise works well for Google’s business
- Links are cheaper to produce
- Linking is a way for media companies to show their environmental responsibility on the web
I barely know where to begin here.
First, just because everyone CAN produce content does not mean everyone WILL produce content. In fact, as any one who has ever run a blog or message board will tell you the majority of visitors prefer not to comment. So making the jump that there will always be more content than people can possibly consume is kind of silly.
Second, who is to say that every piece of information doesn't add value to the web. I've read tons of stories where people connect with an old friend via twitter and are elated to know the mundane details of that person's life. So does that long lost friend's tweet about where he ate lunch add value to the web? To at least one person it does. So comparing that content to pollution is a flawed comparison because pollution isn't good for anyone where as random tweets always add value for someone.
Third, advising people to "link instead of write" isn't advice that anyone can realistically follow. Professional sites like TechCrunch and ReadWriteWeb cover the same content but they also have unique readers who they can't just hand over to a competitors site. A link is not cheaper to produce if it costs you a reader and that's exactly what each site would be risking if they simply stopped covering some stories. Even if they didn't lose readers they'd be giving up ad revenue by losing half their page views.
Finally, I strongly object to the idea that not posting on a story makes media companies "environmentally responsible" I'm sorry but there aren't that many people who care that different news sites cover the same story. In fact, if a news site chose to just link to another site's coverage I'd probably think less of them not more. Their job is to cover the news not act as a aggregator.
I don't want ReadWriteWeb or TechCrunch trying to be Google because I already have Google for that. I want them out there covering the story and preserving my right to choose which coverage I decide to read. It isn't their job to solve your information overload problem.