Saturday, March 01, 2008

You are Entering the Middle of the Conversation

Michael Robertson wrote:

I didn’t look at the video, but it illustrates one of my
concerns. If online video is just flash, dash and eye candy, it
trivializes and does not illuminate. Obviously, “home movie”
quality might also repel reader/viewers. *But challenging network
TV by becoming network TV – I don’t see the point.*

And Trader Horn wrote back:


No doubt the internet will serve as an ad hoc TiVo, but that's not what the internet's really about. And homemade video is nice and new, but that's not what it's about in the long run. And those of us who hate to shop can buy anything, anytime, but that's not what it's all about. And Porn has done really well, but it's a specialty (albeit huge, according to the numbers), but that's not even what it's really, really about. Social networking will be there, I think, but it's not the complete real deal, either. I keep running across the question, "If creativity is so rare, why is there so much on the internet?"

Good question!

I just came upon this recently, and in my opinion, this is what the internet was born to do:

(MUSIC: Thus Sprach Zarathushtra)

There's some great stuff here. I think it's the future. What do you think?

And so I wrote back:

I have yet to get my head around just what the Internet will prove to be about! What I am most concerned about is newsgathering and news dissemination. Newspapers are mass communication with all the distortions and limitations of that top-down model, but at least the economy of scale professionalized newsgathering (with all the distortions and limitations and self deception of *that* job model). Any amateur is now a journalist -- and I gladly grant them the term. Any aggregator is a now a gatekeeper and a publisher. I am curious (and, because I am old, all curiosity devolves into worry) about whether the internet "opportunity" will produce underfunded amateur journalism that will be cherry-picked by those who like what they see/hear to the exclusion of that which they do not like to see/hear.

Of course, maybe this will all be just like an episode of The Transformers. The parts will shift and the "new machine" will look different, but the practical result will be the same. People will acquire about as many facts and come to about as many informed decisions. The ambitious will triangulate and seek out a variety of sources, and the incurious and the ideologically rigid will be no worse off. As your presentation of Ted suggests, there are now more delicious items on the buffet right in front of us, many of them prepared by amateur chefs motivated by altruism or the creative impulse. But isn't there something called Gresham's Law: Good money drives out bad? If I knew exactly that that means, my question would be more useful!!!

I always come back to the same place. I worry about people getting paid for good work, for pursuing a vocation, not just an an avocation. The glory of old-style newspaper was the daily grind, of doing the story you did not care about because someone thought a few readers might care about it even if you, the newsworker, did not. I worry about the new online news media ethics achieving the mediocrity -- which is better than nothing -- of the sad old news media ethics. I worry for the sake of worry. Yet clearly the new models are a wonderful opportunity. But so was the opposable thumb.


Anonymous said...

Is this still about the shithouse video?

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Are you referring to the nuclear repository???