The Next Big Thing?
There is a technology start-up company in, of all places, Cincinnati, Ohio that may just be on to the next big thing for the Internet and the culture of sharing information. If you think about it, we all do the same thing—we read something that is really cool or interesting or just damn important to know, and we copy and paste it in one way or another to our friends and family. Although our current system is functional, there has to be a better way.
Tim Schigel of ShareThis.com started a service that is an Internet widget, which allows Web surfers to share content with a single click of a button. “Its main attraction is its ease-of-use and convenience in linking information between social networks without requiring the user to copy and paste a link, photo or copy block, and then send it,” says Schigel.
That is a fascinating idea. One more step into the new era of citizen journalism. In this case, it is not journalism written by citizens, but rather forwarded by like-minded citizens to others, who just might in turn forward it on to others, and so forth and so on.
As a publisher, I am still concerned and mystified by the copyright issues and the business plans involved for this distribution-minded sub-culture, but I conclude that at the end of the day it is no different from those magazines that happily proclaim a pass-along readership of 50 people per copy. If a publishing house can be proud of a pass-along readership, then they should be ecstatic with an Internet widget that like ShareThis that performs even better.