Reading this discussion by my friend Jamie, regarding Jaron Lanier’s “You are not a gadget,” I was reminded of a discussion I had with folks back in my podcasting days regarding building networks of trusted information out the white noise of infinite media.  I haven’t read Lanier’s book, but from the post it appears to be another voice of old media dissent arguing for the life and lamenting the loss of the media gatekeeper.

You can read Jamie’s post to see in what ways the loss of the gatekeeper is allowing the introduction of new ways of organizing culture and even how we think, but it reminded me of a few ideas that have just sort of been jumbling around for a while:

  • The dissemination of media as a broadcast is only in its infancy in the scope of human culture.
  • The dissemination of media through peer-to-peer social networking allows a conversation and investigation of ideas that crosses social and political boundaries in entirely new ways.  I don’t know about you, but simply because of the demographics of my Facebook friends list (friends, coworkers and family!) the idea of a political monoculture in my daily reading is preposterous.
  • Everyone will have access to infinite information, but we will find among our peers trustworthy filters whose work will be functionally no worse than that of traditional media.
  • Old media has largely been a failure. Growing up, my local paper rarely served the interests of my community beyond a few select readers.  My local TV station provided little worthwhile coverage of news beyond “if it bleeds it leads” and extreme weather coverage.

Finally, a huge problem in all of this is some kind of schism between people who grew up with traditional media and those of us who have been connected for most of our lives.  I can’t recall a time when I found the news media particularly trustworthy.  Poorly sourced reporting and outright lies have been the culture of professional reporting for as long as I recall.  For people of a certain age, that distrust may not exist.  Look no further than the emails I know your parents and relatives send you!  If you are a parent, consider the source of the email you’re sending!  Many of us have been exposed to email forwards, the most incessant and annoying version of spam there is, since we began using the internet, but some people of a certain age don’t seem to pick up on the fact that they are all terrible lies! No matter how many times we point them to snopes.com, ask them not to send any more email forwards, they simply do not get the message.

Why?  People of a certain age were raised in a media environment where the consumption of news was unquestioned and the newsmakers were the paternal providers of trusted information, justified or not.  Those of us raised connected have learned to demand a more broad spectrum of information, from which we can assemble a version of the truth that is closer to our understanding of reality.  We don’t need the old media, and while we may be missing out on the aesthetic pleasures of reading a paper we are building a network of trusted news providers out of the people around us.

A Man of A Certain Age

Ray Romanos of A Certain Age (How we consume news)

A Man of A Certain AgeReading this discussion by my friend Jamie, regarding Jaron Lanier’s “You are not a gadget,” I was reminded of a discussion I had with folks back in my podcasting days regarding building networks of trusted information out the white noise of infinite media.  I haven’t read Lanier’s book, but from the post it appears to be another voice of old media dissent arguing for the life and lamenting the loss of the media gatekeeper.

You can read Jamie’s post to see in what ways the loss of the gatekeeper is allowing the introduction of new ways of organizing culture and even how we think, but it reminded me of a few ideas that have just sort of been jumbling around for a while:

  • The dissemination of media as a broadcast is only in its infancy in the scope of human culture.
  • The dissemination of media through peer-to-peer social networking allows a conversation and investigation of ideas that crosses social and political boundaries in entirely new ways.  I don’t know about you, but simply because of the demographics of my Facebook friends list (friends, coworkers and family!) the idea of a political monoculture in my daily reading is preposterous.
  • Everyone will have access to infinite information, but we will find among our peers trustworthy filters whose work will be functionally no worse than that of traditional media.
  • Old media has largely been a failure. Growing up, my local paper rarely served the interests of my community beyond a few select readers.  My local TV station provided little worthwhile coverage of news beyond “if it bleeds it leads” and extreme weather coverage.

Finally, a huge problem in all of this is some kind of schism between people who grew up with traditional media and those of us who have been connected for most of our lives.  I can’t recall a time when I found the news media particularly trustworthy.  Poorly sourced reporting and outright lies have been the culture of professional reporting for as long as I recall.  For people of a certain age, that distrust may not exist.  Look no further than the emails I know your parents and relatives send you!  If you are a parent, consider the source of the email you’re sending!  Many of us have been exposed to email forwards, the most incessant and annoying version of spam there is, since we began using the internet, but some people of a certain age don’t seem to pick up on the fact that they are all terrible lies! No matter how many times we point them to snopes.com, ask them not to send any more email forwards, they simply do not get the message.

Why?  People of a certain age were raised in a media environment where the consumption of news was unquestioned and the newsmakers were the paternal providers of trusted information, justified or not.  Those of us raised connected have learned to demand a more broad spectrum of information, from which we can assemble a version of the truth that is closer to our understanding of reality.  We don’t need the old media, and while we may be missing out on the aesthetic pleasures of reading a paper we are building a network of trusted news providers out of the people around us.

Discourse

So Rick Santorum was on NPR this morning, talking about the “nuclear option.” In his discussion, he said that the Republicans weren’t chaning the rules, the Democrats already had, and that Democrats decrying the changing of the rules to “Adolf Hitler, standing in Paris, claiming the Allies were invading his country.”
I couldn’t help but think of the big rule of arguing on the internet: Once you bring up Hitler, the conversation is over, and you lose. Sadly, this will not likely be the case for Mr. Santorum.
Watching Santorum and his bold steps is like being that guy in The Dead Zone trying to stop the politician he knows will start World War III. I won’t be at all surprised if he runs for president in a few years.

Update:
The exact quote:
TO STAND UP AND SAY, HOW DARE YOU BREAK THIS RULE. IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF ADOLF HITLER IN 1942 “I’M IN PARIS. HOW DARE YOU INVADE ME. HOW DARE YOU BOMB MY CITY? IT’S MINE.” THIS IS NO MORE THE RULE OF THE SENATE THAN IT WAS THE RULE OF THE SENATE BEFORE NOT TO FILIBUSTER. IT WAS AN UNDERSTANDING AND AGREEMENT, AND IT HAS BEEN ABUSED. IN A SENSE, WHAT WE SEE HERE ON THE FLOOR OF THE UNITED STATES

from Raw Story, but I heard him say it on the radio

Question

Why isn’t anyone talking about the $140 billion tax cut GW just signed into law? I don’t really watch network news, so I can’t be sure, but even Kerry doesn’t seem to be talking about it. I guess he’s too fired up about the 350 tons of explosives that went missing in Iraq. Explosives the IAEC warned them to keep secure before the war.

Oh yeah, watch the new Eminem video.

Also, Bill Clinton looks like shit.

[Listening to: Alone Again Or – Love – Christmas Comp Disc 1 (3:17)]