Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Disruptive Technology of New Media

A cat, along with a flask containing a poison, is placed in a sealed box shielded against environmentally induced quantum decoherence. If an internal Geiger counter detects radiation then the flask is shattered, releasing the poison which kills the cat. Quantum mechanics suggests that after a while the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when we look in the box, we see the cat either alive or dead, not a mixture of alive and dead.

-Schrödinger's Cat
Is Blogging and New Media what you'd call, disruptive technology?

@dannyarao sent out this tweet: "Topic: Subjectivity as a cause of tension between bloggers and journalists. Then again, there are more pressing concerns to write about." So, I asked myself: do we have more pressing concern, or isn't understanding the nature of New Media, one such concern?

The Blogging Question

Blogging isn't entirely politically inclined even with the rise of such blogs as The Huffington Post that talk for example of Bailed-Out Firms Use Tax Havens. Some of my favorite blogs aren't politically inclined such as The Ayson Chronicles, Daring Fireball, Macrumours, Good Morning Silicon Valley, Engadget and Howard Lindzon. Who hasn't heard of those blogs?

John Gruber's Daring Fireball is an awesome read. take this bit of commentary:
"Something sure happened in the last nine days. The gist of Jobs’s January 5 PR was “I’m being treated but I’m not going anywhere.” The gist of his email today was “I’m going away for six months.” I somehow doubt that Goldman is correct that idle speculation from two industry executives who can no longer get Jobs to answer their phone calls or instant messages is it."
and this one: Walt Mossber on Steve Job's Heath and Apple
Voice of reason.
In recent days the local blogging scene and by extension, local mainstream media has seen a flurry of thoughts on what blogging is all about and what New Media is all about. Least was my recent train of thought on the matter ("Ancient Spirits of Golf, Please Meet New Media") and perhaps--- should we have a common defense or as reader ia pointed out in the comments section there are such things as insurance . Could these be a mechanism to respond against any libel complaint?

Carlos Conde wrote about his introspection with regard to both being blogger and journalist. On "The 'Golf War' and the Perils of Blogging", which you should read (if you haven't), a snippet of his "crisis of faith" goes:
Blogging was not invented for journalists and, as such, may not be an ideal medium for them. (Indeed, some even believe that blogging was invented precisely to get around the conventions of mainstream journalism.) It is clear to me now that journalism is one hat, blogging is another. And a journalist, in my view, cannot wear two hats — especially those that, because of their respective nature, simply don’t fit if worn at the same time.

I would be lying if I said that this self-examination was not prompted by the so-called “golf war” and how it played out, i.e. that the Valley Golf and Country Club management has practically exonerated the Pangandamans, who have been vilified on the Internet left and right.
An ironic thing happened a few months back. Steve Jobs was reported by CNN via iReport to have had a Heart Attack. The odd thing, Mac rumor sites were the more prudent ones to have held off reporting it.

In "Why We Blog", Abe had these thoughts to share:
Blogging is to no-holds-barred street-fighting as traditional literary form to the sweet science of prizefighting. There ought to be no enmity between these two forms of thought expressions, as Sullivan has correctly pointed out; one complements the other. I agree.
Interesting analogy.

Oh, with regard to that Media Focus episode, you should go check out @momblogger who wrote about Media in Focus on De la Paz & Blogging, a recap of the episode in which she together with "Carlos Conde, Danilo Araña Arao (Assistant Professor of Journalism in UP), Atty JJ Disini, Councilor JC de los Reyes" appeared as guests. Her page has video of the episode via @brinknotes.

The question of credibility and accountability was address in that episode of media focus. Also apt, was DJB's recent Kudos to the Mom Blogger:
Where traditional journalists rely on the wisdom of editors, we Bloggers rely on the wisdom of the crowd to restrain our passions, to check our facts and test our assertions. We are each other’s whetstones and limit switches, critics and devil’s advocates. We do things this way because it is much cheaper and more effective than setting up uneconomical, unecological multibillion peso newspaper empires, television and radio networks, whose principal goals are largely commercial and only partly journalistic.
With all this media focus, I suppose, Rom over at Smoke's geeky funny and cliff-notety "a brief history of media", is right on time. This part, I particularly found to be geeky funny:
Imagine a landlord, frustrated at the dying of his crops - not knowing why. He would turn to those who knew and those who knew, in helping the landlord, gained a kind of power over him. But that power too was fragile and easily wrested away. Then as now, geeks hardly stood a chance against jocks.

But jocks are a cowardly and superstitious lot - as Bruce Wayne intuited. And so, if the geeks could not cow them by might and main, they resorted to superstition and religion. Fear of damnation led kings to brave winter storms just to ask for a priests forgiveness. Eventually, intellectual power became the prized possession of the God-merchants. But don’t gt me wrong. This was, by no means a novelty. Stretching back into pre-history, god-merchants had always exercised this monopoly on esoteric knowledge. The emergence of powerful religion simply modernized the shamanistic tyranny of information.
Speaking of Bruce Wayne, it isn't just politics that seem to fill blog controversy these days. That fictional billionaire playboy and industrialist, is hot topic ever since Bat-scribe Grant Morrison penned Batman: R.I.P., and yes it means exactly that.

Sort of.

Of course the "convoluted" story of how Bruce Wayne died has been a hot topic on the internet. And Grant Morrison has been hail both genius and insane. Oh, I lean towards the genius crowd, if that was your question.

The sad part though, as newsarama points out, no one seem to have noticed.

In Dick Grayson, the first Robin's book, "Nightwing", the villain known as Ra's Al Ghul as penned by Peter Tomasi said, "A Hero of Batman's caliber should not have perished in the shadows. A hero like Batman should have been killed in the bright light of day for all the world to see."

Who knows how Battle for the Cowl will end?

And you thought I segued, didn't you?

For now the World is a bit darker without that Batsignal but the world has our every own Batsignal. Or at least, Twitter has been called as such.

Enter Micro-Blogging
"What are you doing?" -Twitter
A mashup of social networking and micro-blogging, twitter is a stream of information about anything and nearly everything that matters. It can be the newswire for ordinary people. It can be a communication's platform--- sending out press release. It can have an insightful discussions from everything between business, technology, politics, Manny Pacquiao and the mundane. IT has been instrumental during the Mumbai attacks, it has been used by both the Israelis and Palestinians in their information campaign. It has been used by Obama's people durning their campaign.

Twitter is a maximum 140 characters that feels like a sip of water. And yes, it can be overwhelming for some people.

Blogging--- micro or not is mostly cerebral, as Leo Laporte and many others have concluded. It requires a brain as many like The Jester-in-Exile rightly put in "Yeah. Whatever.":
I have long found discussions on the distinctions between mainstream media and the blogosphere to be stimulating, as the latter is still a medium that is still evolving in the Philippines, and humorous, especially when the former seems to want to impose apple standards on an what is most definitely an orange. Perhaps it is high time that we distill that we have learned thus far and present the differences between blogging and journalism that make journalism standards inapplicable, as well the similarities that could ensure that both become honest brokers in the traffic of information.
In finding a clear path through this thicket, perhaps we will be able to reassure MSM practitioners that their jobs remain safe (although they will have less reason to pride themselves as the sole “gatekeepers of information” bleh), cut down a bit of hubris on the part of the blogosphere (yes, Dean, we’re all prone to that), and find a modus vivendi between the two.
As cerebral and as awesome as blogging is, it isn't the be all and end all of New Media.

Podcasting, Peer-to-Peer Network and Video
It will go down in history as a turning point for the music industry. This is landmark stuff. I can't overestimate it!

▪ On the iPod and the iTunes Music Store, as quoted in Fortune magazine (2003-05-12)
You've heard of Napster, correct?

At the dawn of the 21st Century one "benefit" of this Interconnected world was file sharing. The most notorious of this was Napster. Back in the day it made file sharing so easy there was no need to hide behind usenet or irc.

Napster has long since passed on yet its legacy lives on as a stark reminder of the Music Industry's failure to understand the nature of New Media and the Internet. All it took was one Steve Jobs to bridge both worlds and boom! You have shows like Jim Ayson's PhilMusic and even universe specific like PotterCast.

Enter the iPod and iTunes:

The iPod and the iTunes music store were revolutionary products that sought to bring internet technologies mainstream. One of the reasons why downloading became popular was because it was easy. No more CDs, and everything is just there. Ubiquitous.

iTunes made it all legal.

And with an mp3 player as awesome as the iPod, and the increase in bandwidth and technologies that made recording easy has ushered in an age where anyone can create his or her own radio show or media network. Boom! just like that everyone is a vector of information.

People started to experiment on podcasting. Take this bit of trip down memory lane with podcaster and entrepreneur Alex Lindsay:

Alex Lindsay - CEO, Podcaster, Entrepreneur from Frederick Van Johnson on Vimeo.

It is equally true that these Internet technologies are limited in market share. Yes, it is a nascent industry and pioneers like Leo Laporte's network is one success story. His shows have broadened to include not just his radio show, which is on tech but other roundtable discussions like This Week in Tech (TWiT), Macbreak Weekly and other science shows.

The Inquirer had a forayer into this medium awhile back. Leo Laporte calls podcasting as more intimate. He argues that it is because someone is talking to you.

The American Old Media though is starting to awaken. For example, CBS has been busy acquiring Internet businesses like Wallstrip--- a show that attempts to bring Wall Street to Pop Culture and even the political video blog

B*#ch, Please:

New Media is a nascent industry. In this interview, Alex Lindsay talks about what the future of New Media could be.

Is New Media simply just a bunch of radio shows or videos?

Heck, here's a bit of funny from Ask Palpatine:

and this episodic comedy called TikiBarTV is a New Media example too!

Beyond this, governments are now using YouTube for example to send out their message.

With Internet time, these shows, together with the advent of TiVO and PVRs has allowed an era where the user/view can listen or watch these shows at their own pace. It isn't uncommon for people to keep episodes on their TiVO and watch them time delayed days, even weeks down the road.

Listening to audiobooks on the go or podcasts while on the commute is a benefit of this branch of New Media for consumers.

Leo Laporte a few months back talked at BlogWorld about New Media. He shared his insights how blogs, podcasts and video all differ in how they impact the brain. He also talked about the interactivity of New Media and how this--- above all else makes it different from Old Media:

New Media is a broader, richer universe where blogging, podcasting and video blogging are genres, equally diverse and rich in their own right.

The beauty of blogging and New Media that challenges the old guard is its interactivity but there are challenges too. The difficulty with podcasting and video blogging is mostly the bar of entry is a tad higher than blogging. WIth mere blogging, words are easier to produce. with Podcasting some technological leap is needed. While Podcasting is relatively cheap, video isn't. Yet the wonder of this New Media is that suddenly, big business doesn't own content or the means to distribute content. It is quite realistic that anybody on Earth can produce their own podcast show or their own tv series and grow a community from there and that is the nature of the disruption.

The explosion of information has created a world where no one has the time to see, hear or read it all. TV seasons for example become meaningless. Distribution of content is as open as never before. And anybody can dispute or do this. That's part of the beauty of this New Media.

And you know what? This universe is so nascent, questions about the nature of blogging or where will all this go are quite natural. That's the price of pioneering. That's the price of living on the bleeding edge. Disruptive technology is beautiful isn't it?

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