Homebound at 36,000 feet

I’ve just come from the third Nashville blogger meet-up sponsored by WRKN-TV, and this one was pretty special. Steve Safran has been live-blogging the event over at Lost Remote, and I’m sure he’ll have all the details. I just want to add a little perspective.

Firstly, I told the group that THEY are the media of the future, and I know people will disagree with me about that. Everyday people telling everyday stories of conflict and resolution is vastly more interesting than what the modernist institutions of the world deem “important.” The remarkable phenomenon of self-publishing (print, audio or video) isn’t so much technology-driven as it is people-driven, and this is why years ago I chose to view these accomplishments through the cultural change of postmodernism (hence, the name of this blog). Call it post-colonial, post-Christian, post-industrial, whatever; the point is it’s people driving the change, not technology.

This is an important difference between the way I write and the concepts and memes of other observers. Technology is just the servant. The world as we know it is what’s changing, and it’s too big to lay at the feet of technology. Technology is certainly enabling change, but it’s a mistake to think that turning off the technology will alter that which has been birthed. People have always been people, and the need for self-expression is as old as “the woman made me do it.” It’s this ability now to self-express, to make ourselves matter, to fully explore our creative sides, to influence, to show off, to touch, to know, and to be known: these and more are the things that have now escaped into the fullness of life, and they will never return to the captivity that institutional modernism requires.

All of culture is being impacted, and that’s why little meetings like this morning’s are so important and why the bloggers in Nashville may be a little luckier than most. They are a doorway to tomorrow, and that will soon become even more evident as the vision of interacting with each other and a willing member of the institutional media expands and grows.

My dear friend Michael Rosenblum was there, and it was certainly good to see him again. Michael is a walking one-hour comedy show that’s just waiting to be filmed, but his humor drives home a point about television and this new age of people making their own TV. “Revolutionary” is the term he uses, and I think that’s because the English language doesn’t offer one any bigger. Perhaps my friends at PBS should do a show with him, because his hilarious message needs a wider audience. He’s as Hollywood as they come, and not everybody likes him, but in our increasingly postmodern culture, he’s as genuine a prophet as you’ll find anywhere. If you’ve never seen his act, you’ve really missed something special.

Secondly, this is a group of independent bloggers that are getting together to use their blogs to help support themselves through an ad network that the station will oversee. I cannot possibly overstate the significance of this, because all efforts heretofore to marry the power of networked advertising and citizens media have come in the form of the network itself creating the forum for the content.

This is not to say there’s anything “wrong” with the that but merely to point out the genuinely bottom-up nature of the Nashville is Talking Ad Network. How do you qualify for the network? Write a blog. The Nashville blogosphere is the Nashville blogosphere. It doesn’t “belong” to WRKN-TV, and this is huge in understanding and unlocking its potential.

One final thought has been on my mind, and it comes from this remarkable quote that I discovered by Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products & User Experience, Google:

Consider an iPod. At present you can store up to 10,000 songs on an iPod. In 2012 you could carry an entire year’s worth of video on it. In 2013 you could store all commercial music ever made on it. In 2019, you would be able to store 85 years’ worth of video on it. And by 2030, you’ll have all the content ever created in the palm of your hand.
I believe this will happen, and when it does will come the same question that my then 8‑year old daughter Jenny asked me in the mid-70s when I put a Texas Instruments calculator in her hand. “Why,” she asked, “do I need to study math if I have one of these?”

The year 2030 isn’t very far off, and the decision to participate in the revolution is still ours. It won’t be for long.


  1. Great presentation by you, Sechrist, Rosenblum and the gentleman from Pheedo (whose name I’ve regrettably blanked on.)

    One thing that leaves me confused after reading your thoughts here is that I understood the Pheedo portion to be strictly individual blogger-based microadvertising via RSS. Is this a seperate ad venture from the group ad overseen by NiT? Because I do see potential in both models, but vastly more potential in a group-play scenario.

  2. Great to be with everybody, Kat. Both are part of the same thing — an effort to organize everybody, so that we can offer a real network to advertisers. Pheedo is just one player. The original plan was to use Burst software, but the station moved to 24/7 for their ad serving software. That means we have to re-work details in order to build what we all want. Stay tuned.

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