In other words, my scanning behavior has radically changed because of blogs (see Time Spent on Blogging, Personal Learning Strategies).
I also lump into this most of the activities at conferences (see Better Conferences). In fact, my limited attention has made me into a Session Hopper. It's much like skimming, but at a conference.
But Rick and Donald got me thinking that the reality is that Magazines and Conferences continually must aim at introductory, novice, overview level content. That appeals to the broadest audience. And somehow, ASTD conferences attract 50-75% newbies to ever conference. If you look at it, there is a relationship here:
Introductory / Novice Sources:
- Conference Sessions
- Conversations with other experts
The conference sessions I present on eLearning 2.0 and the articles I write on various topics (e.g., Learning and Networking With A Blog (T+D article)) have to be somewhat of an overview. You cannot assume that people come with a common understanding of a topic. And I would suggest that I normally focus on more advanced topics.
In Disruptive Changes in Learning, I point to how the long tail of learning is addressed through alternative sources...
- Mainstream media -> YouTube
- Mainstream press -> Blogs
It will be interesting to see what begins to happen to mainstream sources that chase large audiences. Can they survive with such broad coverage? Can they also add value for people looking for deeper content? I personally think there's an interesting aggregator role, but they may be made irrelevant by networked aggregation unless they get out in front today.
Certainly, for most experts, my guess is that they've lost much of their value and there are much better scanning sources.
Of course, this also relates to the same issues we face as developers of training. We currently focus on large audiences. We face much the same challenge as publishers and conference organizers. How do you pursue opportunity in the long tail?