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It's Getting Deeper
My friend Adam has likened surfing the WWW to watching television. And he's got a point. When on the web, my finger is always on the mouse trigger. When I exceed my low tolerance for boredom, I click -- and am off to the next page. It's just like cable (except that when MTV was launched, they hoped that if viewers didn't like a particular song/video, they'd wait around for the next one -- it's no wonder they've switched to more of the 20 minute programs...).
But I would also argue that there's something else going on with the web. And it's very deep. Publishers are realizing that the WWW is a perfect vehicle for providing virtual reams of information that would ordinarily be unavailable or un-digestable. All this information is virtually free to publish (server space and an HTML magician are cheaper than distributing press releases to anyone who wants 'em), and builds "consumer" loyalty and brand awareness. And the consumer only has to read what they want to read...
Case(s) in point. AT&T restructures, and the main source for information on the breakup is on the web. Netscape Navigator gets hacked, and all of their information re. the fix is on the web. The New York Times and the Washington Post co-publish the Unabomber manifesto -- but for those of us who don't live on the right coast, you can find all 20,000 words at Pathfinder. PBS airs "Rock and Roll" and backs it up with a great looking site, including backstage interviews, discographies, book information, etc. ESPN goes beyond the broadcast, and launches Sportzone, which has enough stats and insider information that they're charging it. And, if you haven't had enough Windows 95 shoved down your throat, check out Bill's site, which is just chock full of application notes, drivers, help files, etc., etc., etc.
And it's only going to continue. Believe it or not, there was stunning news out of Netscape last week (besides the hack). They announced the purchase of Collabra, the only real competitor to Lotus Notes, and plan on integrating it with Netscape servers and browsers. Conferencing and collaboration over the WWW, all in a secure environment. Now that's deep.
Other pieces about miscellany: