The Posting Economy

I’ve been batting around this idea, would love to get your thoughts.

Change is in the air.  Something is happening in the web, if we take a step back we can see something massively disruptive in scale.

We are in the Posting Economy.

Wood Block Letterpress

We are starting to see communities where everyone in the room has the ability to post to somewhere.  That might be FaceBook, Twitter, BrightKite, IM, FriendFeed, their blog, a mass text message… you get the point.  The data layers this is going to create are fascinating.

What is important here is that people are taking part in posting to their own audiences, asking no permission nor seeking immediate reward.  This causes an economic shift.

When this happens en mass, we enter the posting economy.

When that happens, sites like DailyMile take off and make a move in buying trends (a site run out of an apartment in San Fransisco by two friends that has helped athletes track almost two million miles of workouts).  ColourLovers is another fine example (ahead of it’s time).  Sites that five years ago would have died because the users never came.  Now, because of user behaviors, niche sites will take off, and more importantly, niches will take off.

An active Posting Economy results in a monetary shift.

With access to all the posts, consumers will shift their spending habits with their new access to fresh data.  Imagine all the data from twitter being used on more specific services such as BrightKite or a city having an active datastream?  Our current pricing model of fair competition has very little infliction in price (even though the customer base has several monthly events that help or hinder their ability to spend).

Check out stocktwits as an example of this.  The information comes from the bottom up.

Sharing is becoming open, even when closed.

The swine flu outbreak was tracked with amazing accuracy by Google.  People posted their searches if you will.

When I was traveling in New Zealand this year, Facebook was on the screen of every single computer screen at internet cafes.  I asked someone why they spent so much time in a ‘walled garden.’  Their response was surprising to me.  They viewed it as sharing it freely.  Sure, you can’t search for their content, but their friends could, and why would they want random strangers looking at their pictures and notes?

That is a really good question.  I write this post not knowing most that will read it. But for some reason, I don’t think twice about starting the conversation.

The Days of companies profiting ‘because they can get away with it’ are ending.

We have talked about the attention economy, and this is an extension, or pivot from it (and social media for that matter).  The posting economy will be the most disruptive thing that has happened to the web in the last five years.  I’m pretty sure I will regret that line for some reason, but I see room for amazing growth.

The results are a very democratic entrance of the people.  Data (posting) is their weapon to cut up economic norms.

Interesting to think about.



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13 responses to “The Posting Economy”

  1. claudiap Avatar

    So, okay, I agree that posting is a frenzy right now, but I'm not following you on the “economy” part. How are people making money off it, except for a few? I see a lot of energy being spent, and a general sense that there's money to be made somewhere, but it feels like another one of those booms without monetization behind it. I don't necessarily disagree but can you provide a few concrete examples…proof points, as it were? I mean, everyone freaked out over Swine flu, and they still are and in fact the info is NOT accurate, because it's actually about the mildest flu ever. So we have too much info and it's not helping anyone make better decisions.

    Sooo….anyway, where was I? Where were you? Where is any of this going? I see a lot of milling around. I see a lot of blogs making generalizations and prognostications and while it all sounds plausible enough, where is the hard evidence? It's great that all this info is out there, but how will money be made, jobs be created, etc? And aren't users getting a little burned out on having to learn a new thing every 2 minutes? I think people who sit at their desks all day do use these tools and are willing to explore more, but doctors, teachers, moms, therapists, beauticians, social workers, people who move around a lot during their days and barely have time to check their email…they may check Facebook once or twice a week, but that's all they can handle. They're still a lot of the economy and always will be. I see a LOT of posts on FB about how much people hate Twitter or how they've tried it and are getting off it because they don't see the point. I think businesses get it, but casual people don't.

    More examples of how money will be made by info sharing are welcome. Mostly just being a devil's advocate.

  2. John Hathaway Avatar

    Thanks, Andrew. Interesting ideas that keep repeating for me today. My colleague Beth just posted similar ideas applied more specifically to the world of corporate training.

  3. Grant Avatar

    “Sure, you can’t search for their content, but their friends could, and why would they want random strangers looking at their pictures and notes?”

    I think that's the key. I'm not entirely sure about the economy part, but I think what you're seeing is a behavioral shift. Sites like The Daily Mile might've died a couple years ago people people were just barely getting used to the idea of “posting stuff.” Now it's normal. They can readily jump onto a niche site they're interested in and generate data because the underlying behavior, posting stuff, is known to them.

    My question is this: as internet folks leading the charge, is “posting stuff” the behavior we want everyone to learn, or are we limiting the possibilities of the internet?

  4. BrettGreene Avatar

    Great observations Andrew. Thanks for sharing them. As for Claudiap's comment above about people trying Twitter and jumping ship, that's what happens with offline interests as well.

    Not everyone reads the newspaper, plays sports, goes to concerts or indulges in a lot of activities that millions of others do. The difference with the people who choose to be 'posters' is that they are active and reaching large active audiences instantly. This is what's causing the shift Andrew wrote about.

    It only take s a few guys who choose to join a pick up basketball game to start a game, but that doesn't affect all the other people who aren't on the court or at the park. It only takes a few active posters and readers using online communication tools to start movements, spread ideas and change the game for everyone.

  5. Ashu_Joshi Avatar

    Andrew – I heard your pitch #ingiteATL yesterday and have been thinking of the Posting Economy. I am going to write about this from the perspective of online video and how it competes with broadcast/video on demand provided by the likes of Time Warner, Comcast etc. I think this has implications and they may be missing it altogether …..

  6. nuance_intelligence Avatar

    Andrew — thanks for posting.

    Two comments: one on the economy, and one on signal vs. noise.

    In short, there is absolutely an economy of posting, especially as a metaphor for participating / contributing to a community. Although the narrow point of view “I'm not getting paid, where's the economy” view still prevails, a more nuanced view includes the recognition that participation fuels a reputation-based economy. In this model, it's not that you get to spend points, but that certain levels of participants get access to opportunities that would not otherwise exist. In a real-world model, everyone who volunteers >20 hours on a project gets to attend a concert free of charge (yes, there are real cases of this). In another metaphor, consider your credit score — you can't spend 10 points of your credit score on lunch, but a good credit score helps you borrow money less expensively.

    This brings me to the other point…

    The problem with the current state of participation in Twitter and Facebook is the quality to quantity ratio is still too low for any one of us, even if those of us who are tuned into this discussion are good at extracting signal. Therefore, if you are measuring participation, be sure to include qualitative measures alongside quantitative.

    Hope this helps — important discussion.

  7. […] The posting economy is here, and will take over. Forums and pagerank will dominate. If Spec is associated, just throw everything else in the trash. It will get ugly. Today I saw my first ‘they use spec so they must be a nazi’ post. I’m outspoken, but just wow. […]

  8. rogerball Avatar

    Just saw your YouTube/Ignite talk. I believe you are on to something here. This is a powerful democratic tool to enable those that get shut out by powerful interests a chance to inform the rest of us. A way to “keep em honest”. Make lack of responsibility amoung many of the powerful interests a liability to them.

  9. Dan Moore Avatar

    Thought this post, about 'real time reviews' would be topical regarding the posting economy.

  10. andrewhyde Avatar

    Good call!

    Andrew Hyde
    TechStars / Startup Weekend
    Sent from my mobile, sorry for the typos

  11. Dan Moore Avatar

    Thought this post, about 'real time reviews' would be topical regarding the posting economy.

  12. andrewhyde Avatar

    Good call!

    Andrew Hyde
    TechStars / Startup Weekend
    Sent from my mobile, sorry for the typos

  13. […] spend a lot of time on twitter. A lot of time. I’ve also written about the Posting Economy (see my Ignite talk […]

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