Nobody has figured out push media on the internet yet


We spend a lot of time consuming various media forms, more so than ever. One big distinction that’s often made is between push” and pull” media. The difference is simple: pull means someone wants something and goes looking for it (I want a recipe for potato salad and go searching for one online), while push describes something that is sent to someone (usually with their permission and referred to as the publish/subscribe model, such as my Google News alerts, although not all push media comes with permissions—spam, direct mail, etc are examples of the exceptions).

The two methods aren’t just for media: they’re as old as time. A milkman coming to your house is an example of push, while a trip to the supermarket is pull. As you can see the two words relate more to the producer of goods or services rather than the end user.

What’s clear today is that push systems in the digital age aren’t serving us well:

The things we want don’t always reach us (spam filter) or we get them at the wrong time (traffic report after we’ve already passed that intersection) or in the wrong format (at your work email address and it’s nighttime)

All the same, there are some really good things about push media:

Given the benefits of push media and the current problems, why isn’t someone doing a better job? If a certain niche likes to consume a lot of page views of X topic, wouldn’t a push product that served up a goodly supply of X find a home?

While many companies use push media, most don’t do it well. There have been a handful of companies that have specialized in push: Flavorpill, Daily Candy, and others to name a few (there really are only a few).

I would prefer to have more innovative push services in my life than simply more bookmarks to check.