: At a Newspaper Association online meeting last week, participants were invited, to considerable fanfare, to contribute to a group blog. Well, nobody did. It flopped like a dead fish on faded fishwrap. At the Poynter blog, Katja Riefler wonders why. I’ll tell you: A blog is a personal thing (even for a group). We contribute to our blogs because they are ours.

Creating a group blog for the meeting is old-media think; it’s going by the old assumption that everything needs to be centralized; it imagines that you are still the marketplace. If you wanted the conference blogged, it’s really quite simple:

Invite bloggers. And they will blog.

In this distributed, decentralized, deconstructed media world, you have to think differently (especially if you’re in the media): There is no more special privilege or power given to the guy with the conch because now everybody has a conch. Imagine a media world in which everybody is a reporter and photographer (and columnist); everybody owns a press and a broadcast tower. And then ask how the media landscape should be constructed. Now, instead of making everyone come to one place for one source of news, news is everywhere; there’s more news than ever; it’s just a matter of finding it (and finding the right news). It’s also a matter of enabling these many, diverse, and decentralized sources of news — these citizens — to work.

Invite citizens.

: At RSS Winterfest yesterday, I got excited talking about how I’m coming to think of the essential architecture of my day-job content as feeds (RSS, or equivalent). So for a given town, I will have feeds of the information from inside the organization: newspaper headlines, blog headlines, forum threads, classified listings, weather, sports scores… It’s all feeds. And as soon as you think about it that way, it’s no big to add feeds from outside the organization: bloggers’ headline feeds, feeds of related headlines from other news sources, feeds of listings from other sources, feeds of photos and audio and video.

And it gets really exciting when the feeds start reacting to each other (via Technorati links or Movable Type trackbacks or something new coming down the pike). The feeds start conversations. You find out what people really care about. And all this also creates an asset that can be saved and searched and used.

There is still a big role for a guy at the center to enable those conversations and a marketplace.

But you have to think in new ways. It’s no long about the one guy with the press or the conch or the blog. It’s about everybody.

Enable the citizens.