It’s been awhile since we heard anything substantive from Nick Carr, the grim reaper of Web 2.0, the Doctor Doom of interactivity, the Keeper of Souls for anything related to Wikipedia, etc. But the launch of Netscape as an interactive news site similar to Digg seems to have gotten him fired up — albeit several weeks after the event itself.
Nick says that since Netscape served as midwife for the original Web, in what he calls “a lovely ironic twist,” the company may be “the undertaker at the burial of the Web 2.0 hype.” Mr. Carr seems to like declaring things to be dead, or at least on their deathbed, since he has done that at least a couple of times already with Wikipedia. His regular calls of doom remind me of Sir Lancelot in Monty Python and The Holy Grail, who was so eager to declare people dead so that he could ride off to avenge them.
Nick says that Netscape’s new format looks like “a junk drawer” because people have voted all kinds of oddball stories to the top, such as one about the discovery of Noah’s Ark. This is similar to the slagging of Digg.com that takes place regularly, which involves picking some of the top stories in order to prove what morons most people are. Then he says that “normal people” (whoever they are) dislike the revamp, as proven by items such as this one.
None of that proves anything close to what Nick is arguing for, however, which is the death of interactivity in news media. All it shows is that some people react badly to change, and some wish to have others decide what’s important for them. On the former point, I would agree with Dare Obasanjo that Jason Calacanis probably handled the transition badly, and could have done a better job preparing people for the move.