Nate Silver’s manifesto for his new site is 3500 words long, meaning it would take the average adult just under 12 minutes to read. That 12 minutes is then gone forever, a bit of attention taken from whatever other activity said reader would have otherwise consumed, and instead gave to Nate Silver. That is why Nate Silver is so valuable.
The implication of my news consumption being dominated by the tall skinny part of the power curve is that those who can regularly appear there – the best of the best – are going to win the zero sum game for my attention. And, for that, they will be justly rewarded.
What then, though, of the tens of thousands of journalists who formerly filled the middle of the bell curve? More broadly – and this is the central challenge to society presented by the Internet – what then of the millions of others who are perfectly average and thus, in an age where the best is only a click away, are simply not needed?
It’s a great point and question. The internet has made the “best” more accessible, so why would anyone settle for anything less?