Thursday, March 18, 2010

Publishing is an archaic term that people should just drop

I've been reading Tom Foremski's Silicon Valley Watcher blog. Tom is an old FT reporter who now consults to the publishing industry on strategies for dealing with the new media.

I find Tom's blog very intellectually stimulating. The problem is, I think he's got it all wrong. Publishing is increasingly something people don't do anymore. Instead, it's being replaced by three distinct, separable activities:

  • Distribution
  • Content Production
  • Curation
It's easy to give examples of major offerings in each of these. For instance, twitter is clearly a distribution channel as is, for the most part, google buzz. Blogger, typepad, and wordpress are content production platforms. Delicious and google reader are examples of curation platforms.

If you want to become what Tom would call a publisher these days, you don't set out to become a monolith combining all three. Instead, you figure out how to source all three, often working with multiple partners in each category.