As we explore new opportunities to distribute our data and connect with users I hope we will remember what I think is one of the key lessons taught by The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson. (If you haven’t read it yet I hope you will)
For me, the key lesson, in the digital age, the age of information abundance, is that we can no longer say, “People want…”. The days of the single, large, monolithic audience are gone.
There are too many choices. This is why the audience numbers for local newscasts are continuing to get smaller. It is not necessarily that the local news is bad or doing something wrong. The concept we must grasp is that given a choice, some people will choose “x” and some people will choose “y”. I use the Unisys Weather page every day. Does anyone on my block use it? Don’t think so.
As new products are designed I hear people who are in charge say, “Yes, that works, people will like that.” Most times it seems what they are saying is “I” like that.
If you don’t give users a choice, some of them will go elsewhere…and they are gone forever. Some people want “x”, some people want “y” and some people want “z”. What you want…what your boss wants, means nothing to “some” people.