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Dan Gillmor and the End of Bayosphere?

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January 24, 2006

Dan Gillmor and the End of Bayosphere?

Heather Green

In what is bound to kick off debate about how citizens media will evolve, Dan Gillmor writes an open letter about why he has stopped spending VC money on his Bayosphere citizens media startup and how Bayosphere may be turned over to some other site to run.

The letter is a fascinating read, complete with an explanation of how he tried to turn Bayosphere into a business and what he learned from those efforts, both personally and as a entrepreneur. Gillmor's venture was being closely watched. (We included him in our cover story about blogging last year.) As an author "We the Media" and a former journalist, Gillmor has been a big proponent of grassroots media. And still is, by the sounds of the letter.

Gillmor writes..

"I learned some things last year, about media, about citizens, about myself. Although citizen media, broadly defined, was taking the world by storm, the experiment with Bayosphere didn?? turn out the way I had hoped. Many fewer citizens participated, they were less interested in collaborating with one another, and the response to our initiatives was underwhelming. I would do things differently if I was starting over."

"I share the disappointment of some of our citizen journalists. And I respect their skepticism; we encouraged it, after all. It's definitely no fun to have disappointed folks (starting with Michael and our investors, and myself). Still, I owe those of you who participated and visited my thanks for being part of the experiment."

Update: Some links to blogs discussing this.Newsome.orgAmy GahranSiliconBeat

12:41 PM

Citizen Media

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?? Well done, Dan ?failure is educational from

As an admirer of Dan Gillmor and what he has done in the past — and what he tried to do with his “citizen’s media” venture, — I felt more than a twinge of regret when I read his open letter about the demise... [Read More]

Tracked on January 24, 2006 05:28 PM

Dan's own assessment of his Bayosphere experiment is rich and informative and on Bayosphere at:

I'll write a longer post on Bayosphere, re: the experiment and this article, but in the interim, it's important to note somethings that I think distinguished Bayosphere from start. Primarily, that Dan, better than anyone or any site I know, created a space for the expression of diverse opinions. Blogs and their related communities are generally quite partisan, especially when it comes to Politics. I thought (and think) that Dan, through his personality, focus on quality of discourse, and through the openness he engendered, created a unique space for differing viewpoints, across the spectrum of opinion and politics. This is hard to do, and rarely seen on the net, so for those looking for lessons on what to keep from Bayosphere, I'd recommend an analysis of Dan's explicit and implicit sculpting of the space for community expressions.

Posted by: Mini Kahlon at February 15, 2006 04:26 PM

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