over at Automatic-media is getting interesting. They’ve plasticized Feed, meaning that they’ve added a weblog using the Plastic (Slash-based) tools. Of course this sparked quite a discussion, because notwithstanding Stefanie Syman’s explanation, people are confused.
I get the confusion – the new front page design leaves something to be desired in terms of the clarity of presentation. There could (and probably should) be a clearer distinction between the long-form original Feed content and the back-to-the-future Filter stuff.
Some have also shown some hostility, though – that I don’t get. Whether you like the execution of the new model or not, it’s pretty clearly a step forward. The days of atomized, standalone sites are over. MetaFilter’s shared registration database (with the 5K contest) is one example that’s been around for a while. Feed/Plastic/Automatic-Media have just taken it to the next level.
I like the idea of a media company giving a diverse range of users a layered experience by working the connection – and the differences – between sites. There will be multiple ways of getting at content, and each person, depending on their own habits, will be able to follow their own path to what they want. This happens through preferences and such, but also through actually opening new doors as well. Blowing away the idea that each person has one way that they always want to approach things.
For a lot of people that might not make much sense. Especially for those who expect that better algorithms alone are the critical factor in this area. That assumes, though, that algorithms are the problem in the first place – a dangerous assumption to make.