I’m not sure we’ve seen the worst of the disruption that newspapers are facing because of the internet.

Consider HOW TO: Track the Israel Gaza Conflict Using Social Media, an excellent post at Mashable. In it, author Jennifer Van Grove, provides links to a number of services and technologies (Crisiswire, Twitter, RSS, Notify.Me, etc.) that will help the news hungry stay on top of the news.

None of this seems hard. A few clicks, a few keystrokes and I’m set up with my own personal newsfeed.

But it isn’t really easy when I think about it. To make those few clicks and keystrokes work, I not only have to know where to look to find the services, but I have to grok how each of them works and what, exactly, they are going to give me. Compared to picking up the nicely-bundled newspaper or poking around a well-organized news website, it really is a hell of lot of work, particularly when you consider what you have to know before you can make it work.

(Anyone who has tried to explain Twitter or the joys of RSS to the average Facebooker can attest to the difficulty. Ease only comes with exploration and use.)

That’s where I see the final disruption. What will happen to media, which can still count to some degree on being best-single-source, when all of this becomes easy? Right now, RSS and Twitter, as well-adopted as they are, are still minor players in the information flow. (It’s hard to find good stats for these things, but a report last September, said that Twitter had recorded 2.3 million unique visitors in August 2008; during the same month, Facebook recorded 38.2 million uniques visits and MySpace 61.3 million.)

But it’s inevitable the type of information mashups that Mashable reported in the link above will get easier. It’s not difficult to foresee a time when anyone with an internet connection will be able to click a few buttons and put some check marks in boxes to mashups their own sources for single-service delivery to their desktop or, more likely, their phone.

At that point, newspapers will be playing in a much larger field (they already are) among a very much larger group of readers (which they, so far, aren’t).

This goes beyond the Daily Me that newspapers once wondered about and largely disparaged — the idea that anyone with a computer could roll their own daily newspaper from a vast array of sources, creating an amorphous “competitor.” What Jennifer Van Grove’s post hints at, at least for me, is the possibility of an easy-to-understand-and-use way for vast numbers of people to roll their own not on the package, but on-the-fly and on the individual stories that matter to them.

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