Fortunately for the bottom line, the touch-screen hungry public doesn’t seem to mind: “In a national survey conducted by The New York Times in November, 56 percent of respondents said they couldn’t think of anything negative about Apple. Fourteen percent said the worst thing about the company was that its products were too expensive. Just 2 percent mentioned overseas labor practices.”
So, 2 percent of people responding to that November survey had the dangerous conditions in the Apple production line on their radar. Hopefully, that’s starting to change. Unfortunately, conditions on the ground in China aren’t. Read the NYT‘s huge, detailed portrait of these conditions, published yesterday, here. Thanks to New York Magazine for the heads up. Thanks to Mike Daisey for putting this on America’s moral agenda. We’ve been talking about it here for over a year. When I wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on The Huffington Post after Steve Jobs’ passing, I didn’t know that one of Cook’s former gigs at Apple was “guy in charge of finding the cheapest production lines possible” and “guy who found Foxconn.” Still, Tim, the challenge stands. Change Apple’s ethics abroad, and create your own Apple legacy now.
I’m quoted today in a piece by Richard Curtis on ereads.com regarding News Corp.’s launch of The Daily. Curtis rightly points out that the final pricing model differs from the widely held speculation I cited in my original piece that ran on The Huffington Post. It’s .99 a week (not day, as many of us thought). Still, like I said at ereads, it remains to be seen whether The Daily’s staff can bring together the kind of curation that would make it worth anyone’s while to pay for things you can get almost anywhere online for free. Curtis also used the word shibboleth to describe the perhaps generational dictum about information wanting to be free. I like that word.
Thanks, Richard, for quoting me. The Daily: I do wish you the best of luck. You got a not-great review on Mashable yesterday, and the main point of contention was the quality of your written content. Mr. Murdoch and friends, I’m available.
I’ve had a few discussions recently about the utility and value of services like Facebook, WordPress, twitter, and Flickr. The reasons people use various social media platforms or begin sharing content online in the first place keep changing, but doesn’t 2011 already feel like the Year of Curation? That word is everywhere. I’ve used it two or three times in recent posts here, and it’s turning up in comments and discussions about whether the presentation offered by The Daily‘s (News Corp’s iPad newspaper) editorial team will be worth 99 cents per digital issue when the web is deep and wide like a Doors song and so much of it is free. If you’re already not paying for most of the content you enjoy, why pay for curation when your friends and colleagues are so eager to share opinion, art, entertainment, and news?
As the social networks have grown, it’s been fashionable to talk about how much information we passively consume through our various feeds. But we’re also busy passing on things that move us, that strike us, that frustrate or empower us. We don’t always do that with tact — we’re still learning. That we can do it at all, but also with power and speed, well, that’s still new to history. While you’re praying for Egypt and everywhere people struggle, think about what you consume and what you curate. Keep sharing those things that give life.
Today, I’m sharing this picture I found on Flickr. It took my breath away…the moment was, dare I say, holy. I hope you experience something like that this week. Happy Monday to all.
My first post for Huffington’s media section is featured today on the site. It picks up from yesterday’s post on this blog, but considers News Corp.’s “Daily” move in conjunction with yesterday’s announcement of a %47 layoff at subsidiary MySpace. Click the image to read, and please do comment. Thanks!
You might know that News Corp. is set to launch “The Daily”, its much-anticipated (because everyone says so) daily iPad newspaper project next week. According to Cutline, Steve Jobs will be joining Rupert Murdoch for the big event.
As Courtney Boyd Meyers notes at The Next Web: “‘The Daily’ is expected to cost .99 per issue and will implement a new ‘push’ subscription feature from iTunes that automatically bills customers on a weekly or monthly basis, with a new edition delivered to your iPad each morning.”
I have one very basic question. Are you willing to pay .99 a day for content you can get elsewhere for free? Sure, “The Daily”‘s content is exclusive according to a passing definition, but this only matters if you believe that people will pay to read “Daily” writers instead of their analogs on free news sites and marquee free niche and general interest blogs. While it’s true that the who and how of written content have been reasons for preferring one print publication over another, the same rules don’t apply when deciding what might compel you to buy a print magazine or paper instead of finding comparable web treatments of the same issues, trends, and interests . If online (largely free) content is killing print, why should people pay for “The Daily”? I won’t discount the pull of novelty and the excitement people muster about having the latest new thing, even if that thing is ephemeral (not to mention ethereal). And I haven’t forgotten how the experts said “no one will pay .99 for a song” and how all of those experts were wrong. I also haven’t forgotten that no one I personally knew was saying that, that most people wanted a cheap, easy, legal way to get songs online. There was a need, and Steve Jobs filled it.
I don’t know anyone who feels badly about reading free online content instead of plunking down subscription fees or cover prices for print. It’s been said so much, but the rising (really, already risen) culture of consumers expects this kind of content to be widely available and largely free. $30 a month for a newspaper, even a really cool, Steve Jobs-enabled one, doesn’t feel like a solution to anything. It’s neat that creative people built the device and creative people of a whole different skill-set are using it for what will be, I’m sure, an intuitive and even beautiful publication. But unless the endgame is the movement of all relevant content everywhere behind a handful of corporate pay walls…well, actually, that doesn’t even matter because it can’t ever happen as long as the net is neutral. Crap. I told you penmanship was the engine of democracy.
In any case, in 2011, most people have a daily newspaper they can read across all of their devices, and it even includes super-localized updates about the people they care most about. It can be custom-tailored, with very little effort, to their specific interests. It’s free. It’s huge. It’s Facebook.