Local Media Isn’t What People Want: They Want Liquid Media
The truth is that the numbers for AOL’s Patch efforts look bad, based on the southern California numbers leaked to Business Insider. It’s especially bad when you contrast them with traffic generated by Huffington Post, with is topical, not local.
The reality is people don’t want ‘reportage’ on a local level: they may want better search, and the ability to complain about potholes, but they aren’t super excited about the PTA board meeting, or even the local high school sports. Yawn.
People are signing up in the millions for experiences online like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, where traditional news has been reduced to a stream of social objects, and these find their way to us in social streams. Patch is the effort to build thousands of destination sites in a world where people are spending less time on sites, and more time inside social apps.
The saddest thing of all is that Greg Narain and I sketched out a project for AOL years ago called Nerdvana, which would have been a breakthrough in that area, building on the very considerable headstart that AOL had with AIM.
That’s what people still want, though. So AOL could divert a few million of that Patch money to a startup taking a hard look at what’s going on in Twitter and Tumblr, and do something interesting, instead of building a massive and unsustainable flop.
*cough* Neighborhoodr *cough*