You can’t “create” citizens media

The Boulder Daily Camera’s “MyTown” experiment in citizens media isn’t working, according to Poynter’s Steve Outing. In a post called Write, Citizens! Please, Write!, Steve, who’s a local guy, notes that two big weekend events in Boulder produced only a smattering of entries.

In its print edition (as well as online), the Camera had been heavily promoting MyTown in advance of these events, specifically urging people to submit their stories and photos to special areas devoted to the Festival and the Bolder Boulder (10K race).

For the Creek Festival, the paper ran stories giving attendees an “assignment” to “cover” the event, as though they were amateur, unpaid journalists.

Alas, I’d have to say that it didn’t work out.

Steve offers suggestions for this model, but I’m not sure any will make the concept “work.” Here’s why: local communities don’t need anybody to build a blogosphere, because one already exists. I’m sorry, but giving people access to tools under a canopy isn’t the blogosphere, and I’m not surprised people aren’t breaking down the doors to get at it.

Citizens media isn’t something you can manufacture. It’s already there, and the wise mainstream players will find ways to support — rather than try to own — what’s going on.

The personal media revolution is a bottom-up affair, and there’s just no way to turn that into somebody’s hierarchical command-and-control mechanism (to profit from it). When will we learn?

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