Old Media on New Media

Delivery of the Economist seem to be spotty at best around here, so it wasn’t until today that I got my hands on last week’s issue with its survey of new media. It considers, in some detail, the possible consequences of everybody having a medium of expression through blogs like this one. Participatory media that may change the basic format of news. As Blog-venturer Sabeer Bhatia puts it:

??Journalism won’t be a sermon any more, it will be a conversation.”

The proper revolution of new media such as blogs and wikis is this: It will turn publishing into a social phenomenon where there is no final, authorized opinion – instead there’ll be a polyphonous whole based on open-ended equality, allowing each reader to make up her own mind from a wealth of various sources.

As Wired editor Chris Anderson says:

??We are entering an age of cultural richness and abundant choice that we’ve never seen before in history. Peer production is the most powerful industrial force of our time,?

He states that “opinion is a marketplace, and marketplaces work when you have liquidity.” To Anderson, the new participatory media provide that liquidity. And what is truly amazing is the speed with which this change is coming about. New media publishing in the form of blogs, wikis and podcasts is less than 10 years old. Wikipedia, perhaps the best known example of collaborative editorship, is only 5 years old.

This new, organic and social negotiation and interpretation of news and facts may well be as big a revolution for the way we perceive and develop knowledge as the transition from oral sharing of knowledge to a written and printed sharing.

Again, note that the keyword here is the “sharing” of intellectual property – an oft-discussed concept.

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