Friday, July 10, 2009

Old & New Media: Arianna Huffington Sets Me to Thinking

Nothing new about that!

But here are some unvarified fragments of her words about media at the Guardian's Activate 09 Conference:
Old media has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). It can't focus on anything for longer than a standard newscycle. Therefore most things fail to change.

New media has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). It gets hold of something, and just can't let it go. This means that things are more likely to actually change...

The vested interests fighting reform and the past which they represented are very well organised, and the future that they resist is very poorly organized ….

The government tried to control the message, but there were so many people taking pictures with camera phones that they failed …. I'm interested in how technology can be a countervailing force ….

You consume old media sitting on a couch. You consume new media galloping on a horse….

I want to shift the debate from how to save newspapers to how to save journalism….

Data alone is not enough. Data needs to go viral…..
The blogosphere is now the most vital news source in our country. Rightly or wrongly, I've veered away from the reading of books and magazines. (Those floppy and irksome objects that fold up in your lap when you reach for your coffee or beer).

I like the interactive and liberating blogosphere where random and spontaneous thoughts are expected and accepted, and where passion reigns. Old journalism resembles stenography repeating the narrow conventional wisdom, without any semblance of passion. Bipartisanship or non-partisanship is pursued by the old journalism as if it represented some kind of state of perfect objectivity or Byzantine symmetry. Such a goal is un-attainable. It's not worth pursuing. The late great Hunter S. Thompson had it down perfectly in his Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail:
The only thing I ever saw that came close to Objective Journalism was a closed-circuit TV setup that watched shoplifters in the General Store at Woody Creek, Colorado. I always admired that machine, but I noticed that nobody paid any attention to it .... So much for Objective Journalism. Don't bother to look for it here -- not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market quotations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.
There are two or more sides to every question. I like a logical fearless presentation of ideas on one side of the question. If I want to examine the other side(s), I know where to go to find them. Reading, viewing, and listening to partisan reporting gives me an opportunity, ultimately, to discern fact from fiction. The passionate interactive interchange of versions of reality to be found on the Internet informs me also of the vitality of fact(s).

But use of the Internet falls short of its potential. Few political consumers reach out and walk in the shoes of those who disagree with us. Way too infrequently. Of those commenting in my pages, I can think of only two or three with whom I expect to find lively disagreement: The Commentator, Petro-Sexual, and Wizard. Of these, only Wizard stays long enough to cobble together some coherence in his alternate 'reality'.

I make an effort to reach out to Righty and independent sites, whenever I have something to say with enough energy and time to deliver it. Again, Wizard's site is one of my favorites.

But too often I am confronted with having to "join" a blog, because "membership" is a prerequisite for participation in conversation. Another objective barrier to spontaneous dialogue is "comment moderation", wherein the site's Administrator has to pass on a reader's response's propriety before it appears in a thread. That leads to disjointed conversation, because I cannot view the last comment offered for publication before I compose mine. Secondly, I cannot view my comment immediately after posting; thus, a glaring error is missed which could have been corrected by deleting and reposting.

Finally, a major disappointment. My tripping across the 'Net to new and unfamiliar blogsites, is really a gift of my time. It all too often is not received as such. Righties, especially, interpret my comment as "trolling". Does that mean I'm trying to hook them up? I never figured that epithet out. All I'm trying to communicate is that, "Hey! I'm out here and I have a different point of view." What I get, usually, is a verbal slam upside the face. Occasionally, a reasoned reply. Rarely do I get what I'm really looking for which is a visit in return.

The newest thingies on the Internet is the Twittering and the Face-Booking. I haven't figured out what to call one who twitters. Would it be a 'twit' or a 'twat'? When I figure I'm willing to be called whatever it turns out to be, I might try Twittering. Just not yet.

I've been trying Face-Booking for about a week. My first impression is that it's crap. I haven't figured out how it supports embedded HTML links; naked links are hideous, esthetically. But FaceBook does offer a way to allocate your time and multiply your contacts on the Internet without fragmenting your blogging. You just have to be careful as to how many minutes you burn and how many "friends" you allow into your "virtual" Book.

I'll see how it goes.