Clay spends a large portion of this article explaining how Micropayments, or small payments, won’t save large publishers. The real meat, to me, is in this almost-final paragraph:
Why Small Payments Wonâ€™t Save Publishers Â« Clay Shirky
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the media business is being turned upside down by our new freedoms and our new roles. Weâ€™re not just readers anymore, or listeners or viewers. Weâ€™re not customers and weâ€™re certainly not consumers. Weâ€™re users. We donâ€™t consume content, we use it, and mostly what we use it for is to support our conversations with one another, because weâ€™re media outlets now too. When I am talking about some event that just happened, whether itâ€™s an earthquake or a basketball game, whether the conversation is in email or Facebook or Twitter, I want to link to what Iâ€™m talking about, and I want my friends to be able to read it easily, and to share it with their friends.
This is where my reality lies. I seem to get a huge volume of information daily, but the best information comes from my friends (and by friends, I mean both those who I really know and spend time with, and those who are in name-only on social networks).
Clay names this ‘superdistribution’ – the sharing of content from friend to friend. I’m more likely to learn about breaking news from @breakingnewson on Twitter or someone re-tweeting that than I am by reading NYTimes.com these days. And that, in a nutshell, is a big problem for the Times. It is not un-solvable. And I do believe people at NYT are thinking about it. It will be interesting to see how quickly that translates to action.