Archives for July 2012

The Postmodern Journalist

Here’s the latest in my ongoing series of essays, Local Media in a Postmodern World.

The Postmodern Journalist

As the nature of media continues to evolve, questions of what news will be like in the future continue to spark debate. We have clarity in some areas – such as the shift to real time flows and streams – but other aspects are yet to be uncovered. Those of you who’ve followed my work over the years know that I believe a cultural change driven by a technologically-empowered bottom is what’s underway, and this essay examines – with a degree of specificity – what it will take to be a journalist in this new era. To me, the signs are everywhere, and evidence such as new data from Gallup about trust in institutions needs to be considered as something other than a momentary glitch in the progress of the West. I hope you enjoy and consider this piece thought-provoking at the very least.

Happy birthday to me!

It’s my birthday (a week in which a lot of creative people celebrate), and my friend Holly asked me a question that’s an appropriate birthday blog entry. She’s in her early 30s.

“Now that you’re 66,” she wrote, “what’s the one thing you absolutely believe today that you never, at my age, would’ve imagined you could ever believe?”

When I was in my early 30s, we didn’t even have computerized newsrooms (today’s producers would be amazed at how we did things), so I’d have to give the following ten answers:

  1. That my phone could be a computer in my pocket
  2. That humankind could be hyper-connected
  3. That media consumption could first be replaced by tape, then by recorded disk, and finally by a digital file in a “cloud.”
  4. That Kodak could go bankrupt, and that Brittanica wouldn’t be the primary encyclopedia
  5. That video rental stores would come into being and go out of being
  6. That I couldn’t share my music collection with my friends
  7. That humankind’s wish to be God (Godlike) would be so close
  8. That tyranny could be overthrown without weapons
  9. That I’d no longer have newspapers with which to wrap glassware
  10. That an African-American would be in the White House within 30 years

The more I think about this, the more answers I come up with. For example, I didn’t even touch on medical matters. It really has been an amazing 30+ years.

Social Media’s Antisocial Behavior

Here is the latest in my ongoing series of essays, Local Media in a Postmodern World.

Social Media’s Antisocial Behavior

My old friend David Johnson calls advertising on Facebook “antisocial,” and I have to agree with him. It’s part of a much bigger argument about the nature of advertising in general on the Web, but for social media companies, it’s even more acute, because, well, they’re supposed to be “social.” Most advertising assumes a mass audience, as if presenting from a stage. However, advertising in a social environment is more like being at a party, and it’s very tricky, because nobody’s there to see a show. On the other hand, Facebook is experimenting with forms of content that are really ads, and I think this has great downstream possibilities for all media online. One thing is certain, changes in online advertising are accelerating, and we all need to be aware.