Monday, September 25, 2006

New Media/Web 2.0 Consulting

The futurist Jim Carroll talks in a video clip about an austrailian study which stated that 65% of pre-school kids today will work in jobs that don't currently exist. That blows my mind when I think about what that means across many dimensions - prepareing/raising your kids for the world, keeping yourself nimble to adjust to this rapid change.

Its happening now and constantly - just think about new jobs people are coming up with all the time. One category that seems to be gaining momentum now is related to the new media, web 2.0 wave that is currently rising. No not just the technology and tools associated with it, but people popping up with titles of new media consultants (or some dirivation thereof... blog consultant, podcast consultant, SecondLife Consultant?). They are often technically savy people tired of their current job and looking to do something they are passionate about, and that free's them from their cube. (Don't we all!) I applaud their entrepreneurial spirit, but as will all things don't take the first opinion you get.

Passion does not always equal well thought out options, expertise or insightful information. Granted the space is evolving so quickly, it is hard to keep pace, but I recently listened to a podcast where there was a short discussion based on a caller question about the controlled taxonomy of iTunes category structure and how it was limiting the way in which content is serached/viewed or associated with a genre (music, podcast etc).

A valid problem and one that iTunes is not alone with, however after some passionate discussion about the problem the suggested solution was ultimately to create more detailed subcategories. At no time was the concept of user driven tagging, or folksonomies raised even as a discussion point, which would allow users (IE customers) of iTunes to tag music, podcasts etc. with their own terms of how they felt the music or content should be categorized. These tags could then be assimilated by software into artist tag clouds or a series of distilled user created keywords to help customers find songs by genre(s), and sorted across multiple categories to allow them to find content the way they view it through their lens - not how the iTunes designers, record industry, etc feel it should be categorized.

Now, its quite likely that with further discussion other options such as this might come out, but I feel that the job of a consultant is to present options and help guide clients the the right option for them. There is never just one option. By the way, if you don't quite understand this concept I described above, feel free to hire me - new media consultant:)

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