There was Jeff Jarvis talking about mobile the other day and he doesn’t so much make a new point but remind everyone why they’re in the news business. It’s not the platform and it’s not the content, he says, it’s this: “Relationships — knowing people and serving them better because of what it knows about them.”
No one can disagree with “serving them better,” but I wonder how the audience, the one here in Maine, feels about the news media knowing them better. The inevitable way to know digital readers better is to monitor their online habits: Following their click patterns, applying national data to local readers and generally getting as far inside their heads as software will allow.
What if it was put to a vote among readers: The media can serve you more exact content and more appropriate ads but they’ll want to know much more about you. Would they agree with Jarvis about the business model or would they say I’ll keep more of my privacy and tolerate your lousy ads?