The NYTimes launched a redesign today that's very sharp and very bloglike, as Anil Dash writes. I spoke with the folks at the Times and they explained that they plan to launch more features later, most notably the My Times feature. This is a personalized page that they explain in a letter to the editor outlining the new redesign. It hasn't been launched yet.
But it will start off as personalized pages of about two dozen Times editors, reporters and critics, including tech reporter John Markoff, legal reporter Linda Greenhouse, and Adam Nagourney. The idea is to create a place where these people aggregate information, like their favorite web sites and past articles.
It gets more interesting later in the year, when the Times opens up My Times to people outside the paper. The service will be basically the same thing, an aggregation site for each person to save and share their favorite sites, blog postings, and articles.
There has been a lot of bantering about of the notion of the "Attention Economy." Roughly, it's the idea that people don't have a lot of time, they're overloaded by information, but they want to be able to decide how they organize what they want, especially as videos, articles, and radio shows get cut up and delivered in bit-sized chunks.
A traditional media company can create these little bits of content, called micro chunks, and give them to readers, watchers and listeners. But to stand out in the long run, it makes more sense to also offer the tools and place to pull those little bits back together so that you're at the center of the attention economy. Otherwise, you're just offering up a commodity.