I’ve realised what my job is now. I was looking at an interesting web page, thinking “now who can I get to write about this….”, when it occurred to me that what I do so much of the time is to roam around, trying to find things and then seeding them by putting the idea of writing about them in peoples’ heads and offering them money to write them up. Then the text gets harvested and put on show in the paper or online, and people pay us.

It’s information farming. Have to say it’s a lot less physically strenuous than the kind one would have been doing 100 years ago (see Bobbie’s interesting musing on the “what if you were born 100 years ago?” meme), though sometimes a bit stressful.

Interestingly, the search for “information farmer” does – once you get past the results saying “information, farmers…”, yield this page from Clickz – dating back to 2003.

It seems that the “information farmer” meme has not thrived, and instead has fallen on stony ground. Well, maybe this could be some water for it. As the Clickz writer, Rudy Grahn (and hasn’t his career taken off – why, it’s as if he’d released a version of Spirit In The Sky or something), notes,

What’s missing is someone, or something, to function as an information farmer. We need an agent who will transform the verbs of the Internet from “search” and “find” to “have” and “consume,” an agent who fills the pantry with plenty of what we need. I want the information farmer to save us from mounting a search expedition every time we need sustenance.

Like Ward, I believe we’re destined to have a world of information by manufacture. The rub is I also believe we’re destined to pay for it.

On that basis is Google the Tesco of the information world, squeezing the amount the producers can charge for their goods relentlessly while gaining more and more market share?