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If You Build It, They May Not Come

Jay Rosen has been saying it for a while, now you can hear it again in a New York Times article quoting Robin Sloan, an online product strategist for Al Gore’s Current.Tv: 

“If you build it, they will not necessarily come. We have, a number of times, assumed that if we built the Web architecture for citizen journalists to send in their reports, they just would.”

So here is Current’s reaction:

Having realized that obtaining viewer-created content is not that easy, Current is positioning the television network as an incentive for online participation. Current’s Web site, which previously existed to solicit viewer videos, was reorganized and put up two weeks ago with new social networking features. Viewers are now able to watch a pod on television, post a text or video response on, and potentially see their response appear on television shortly thereafter.

As long as three years ago, Xeni Jardin, one of the four co-editors of, was saying that citizen generated content, like blogs, should be seen as raw materials, which can be built into a more refined product. I thought long before now everyone had heard Rosen’s and Jardin’s messages, but maybe not.

One Response to “If You Build It, They May Not Come”

  1. BayTaper Says:

    Maybe some citizen journalists know better than to submit content to CurrentTV because of their ridiculous contract agreement. I mean seriously, rights into perpetuity, rights of first/last refusal, having to negotiate with them to use your own content. That’s just silly. Unless you’re just looking for exposure, why would anyone submit into that contract, it’s like signing with a music label, and we all know where that model is headed.