Clement Charles

Clement Charles 's thoughts
September 12th, 2014

And vertical communities became key targets

Following the breakdown of social, religious and family structures over the course of the twentieth century, individualisation is speeding up. The logical consequence for the media, the communitisation of information consumption, is becoming commonplace today with the digitization of data flows.


In 1980, newsagents sold 70% general content newspapers, with the other 30% being special interest publications around broad themes. Today, that proportion has evolved into 10% general interest publications and 90% specialist publications, dedicated to very specific topics and aimed at smaller but dedicated audiences.


This individualisation of information consumption can also be observed in the field of traditional media through television placement in homes. While in the 1980s most households had one shared television in the living room, regardless of their income level, most families today, even those on a modest income, have a television in every room.


Unsurprisingly, this trend has exploded since the beginning of the new century with the digitization of data flows and digital publishing tools that have drastically reduced the cost of creating and distributing specialised media. With a supply of digital content indexed and available on demand, everyone can put together their own digitized media content according to their desires, time available and personal interests. With passion at the heart of identity-building, the main factor in establishing common ground is and will remain the community to which users belong, which brings consequences both for communication and information.


Belonging to one or several specific communities means that audiences know their subject well and perceive added value only in information that is in-depth and original. Those communicating thus need to find the right mix of mass-market and specialist, between community language and universal vocabulary.


On the other hand, each community should be seen as a fluctuating group, with its own expectations, vocabulary, practices and codes. The individuals who make up these groups identify with a series of communities, interconnected ‘tribes’, representing the various facets of their personalities and their interests at any given moment.


Web 2.0 applications (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), RSS feeds and Video On Demand are the main tools in the popularisation of this trend. A fundamental, inevitable trend from common ground towards the private sphere; a trend which is moving in the direction of history and steering us into the future.


Thanks for reading.  Written in May 2009. First published in July 2009 in CominMag:  Republished in Sept 2014 on personal and corporate blogs.

Happy to discuss this and any other topic with you ; )

June 19th, 2013

Google, threaten by… SEO, creates room for competitors

Today, in 2013 it appears to me that we are in a situation not so far from the appearance and emerging domination of Google a bit more than 10 years ago. Indeed, a lot of people today acknowledge that Google is the leading, not to say the only search engine, but does not really provides good results in many cases.

In my perspective, the fact that millions of companies can sell you tricks, features, services, official or not, with or without Google certification, that can improve your ranking into Google services is – in itself  – a proof of the current weakness of the search engine.

Indeed, when there are tricks and techniques that allow you, with cash and investments, to be well positioned in search results, we’re not into algorithmic search anymore. We are into a directory with paid visibility ….A directory exactly like Yahoo! was at the time.

In my perspective, all the recent announcement of Google of the past two years have been bringing sanctions to limit the abuse of SEO. From Panda to Pinguin, the zoo of algorithmic updates shows that Google is well aware of the problem that I am underlining now.

I think customers would also have expected that the search algorithm itself improve as much as a “Google Now” on Android phone, which seems to be the way forward. You would also expect deeper search that encompass the deep web. Finally, the search and discover function of YouTube are surprisingly weak, unrelevant and not updated (… subscribing to channel is not the way you find the long tail content you may be searching for). Well, there are things to do, but it is not there yet.

So in my perspective, SEO and in a lesser way, sponsored links, are the biggest money maker but also the biggest threat on Google search future. In the 2 to 3 years time frame, I would expect Google to be able to provide a “Google Now” types of experiences to desktop (maybe, connected TV) users, while fighting hard against a new group of competitors that used the room currently left by Google to enter the market !

June 17th, 2009

Et la communauté devint le cœur de cible

Suite à l’éclatement des structures sociales, religieuses et familiales au cours du 20ème siècle, l’individualisation s’accélère. Sa conséquence logique dans les médias, la communautarisation de la consommation informationnelle, s’impose aujourd’hui avec la digitalisation des flux.


En 1980, les kiosques proposaient 70% de journaux généralistes, alors que les 30% restants regroupaient leurs thématiques spécialisées de manière large. Aujourd’hui, la proportion a changé avec 10% de publications généralistes et 90% de titres spécialisés, parlant de sujets très précis et qui s’adressent à des communautés réduites mais passionnées.


Cette individuation de la consommation informationnelle s’observe aussi dans le champ des médias traditionnels avec la distribution des postes de télévision. Alors que la plupart des foyers des années 80 possédaient une TV collective dans le salon, et ce indépendamment de leur niveau de revenu, la grande majorité des familles d’aujourd’hui, même modestes, possède une télévision par chambre.


Logiquement, cette tendance explose en ce début de siècle, avec la digitalisation des flux et les outils de publication numérique qui diminuent drastiquement le cout de création et de distribution de médias spécialisés. Avec une offre de contenus digitaux, indexés et accessibles à la demande, chacun peut se composer son propre média numérisé en fonction de ses envies, du temps disponible et de ses centres d’intérêt personnels. Avec la passion comme cœur de la construction identitaire, le facteur principal de création de terrain commun est et sera la communauté d’appartenance, ce qui entraîne des conséquences pour la communication comme pour l’information.vic


En effet, appartenant à une ou plusieurs communautés particulières, les audiences connaissent bien leur sujet et perçoivent de la valeur ajoutée que dans des informations pointues et originales. Les communicants doivent donc trouver le bon dosage entre vulgarisation et spécialisation, entre langage communautaire et lexique universel.


D’autre part, chaque communauté doit être comprise comme un groupe fluctuant, avec des attentes, des lexiques, des pratiques et des codes qui le sont tout autant. Les individus qui composent ces groupes s’identifient à toute une série de communautés, de “tribus” transversales, représentant les différentes dimensions de leur personnalité et de leurs centres d’intérêt, et ce à un moment donné.


Le web 2.0 (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter), le RSS ou encore la Video On Demand sont les premiers outils de la popularisation de cette tendance. Une tendance de fond, inéluctable, du terrain commun vers le champ individuel, qui va dans le sens de l’histoire et nous dirige vers l’avenir.


Clément CHARLES –