Open Portals or Closed Gates?
Channeling Content on the World Wide Web
Working Paper #10. 2000
This paper explores what the tension between information abundance
and attention scarcity implies for the diversity of information
accessible to users of the World Wide Web. Due to limited user
attention, there is a role for gatekeepers in the online content
market. Sites that catalog Web content and primarily present themselves
as content categorization services are identified as the gatekeepers
in the new information age. Exploring the mechanisms by which
they organize content is essential to understanding how user attention
is allocated to information available on the Web. Theories about
media content diversity are delineated to suggest what we may
expect with respect to content diversity online. Methods for future
empirical investigation are suggested. Finally, the policy implications
of the argument are presented.
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