Cross-pollinating content benefits you, me, Mark and Rupert

Two things made me think about how content might begin to flow across networks.

The first was watching Charlene Li at South By Southwest (the video) ask about ‘what will it take Faceboook and MySpace, Google and Yahoo play nice, and allow us to migrate data backa and forth.

The second a news item I heard Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson talk about, where The Guardian is letting developers access its API use its Open Platform to re-purpose content.

This is where all media organizations have been hesitant to go, because they see their content as the crown jewels. I don’t blame them, for now. But what happens when content tends to get created by people outside the organization? By freelancers, by citizen journalists who are so coveted by everyone from the CNNs of this world to local newspapers. Wouldn’t they want to take their content with them, to their Facebook page or blog? Facebook is learning this the hard way –via Facebook protests like this!

It’s coming to a point when cross-pollinated content –for want of a better term– will be more valuable than the original. That’s why the mash-up video is so much more compelling than the original ad, the curated content and the RSS feed more rewarding than a visit to the source.

If you take this blog post and add a new dimension to it, add a few links, sidebars and comments, my readers might find it more interesting than the original piece. Yes, we are going to bump into copyright issues, but along the way we are going to learn to ‘play nice’ as Charlene said.

Speaking of which, just today, the copyright owner Rob Cottingham, emailed me to say how much he loved the use of his cartoon in a post about Twitter on IABC xChange. He asked if I could give him credit, which I promptly did. Just that small gesture of asking and not suing made his cartoon and my post that much more valuable. (The one used above is his as well and perfect for the SXSW conference I referenced.) Who knows, Rob’s cartoons, Noise To Signal, might influence someone to think harder and bring more clarity to a topic becuase he decided to let his content migrate into mine.

Maybe Murdock and Zukerberg could learn something from Cottingham.

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