Presented without comment #2

And so we continue our series in which relevant and timely articles are ‘Presented without comment‘, for your casual perusal:

The end of journalism as we know it (and other good news)‘ by Annabel Crabb at the ABC’s The Drum:

…we are in part victims of our own excitement and impulsiveness. At the end of the last century, when newspaper editors and executives began to recognise the potential of the internet, the race was on to win eyeballs online. We piled everything we could onto the net. Over the years, we accustomed ourselves to the idea of breaking news stories online, rather than holding them back from the print edition. Build an audience, the theory went, and later on we’ll figure out a way to charge them. And 10 years later, what do we have? Leading news websites, and an audience which has been trained to expect this stuff for free.

What if the greatest service we can offer to a reader is a reliable pointer to what’s worth a look, both in our own mastheads and others? Reliability and trust become more important, the greater the proliferation of information sources.

[On twitter:] There’s a lovely generosity about it; millions of people, pushing little thoughts and fragments into the world, most of which disappear without trace, and some of which whip up into quite significant moments of community. Of all the new social networking phenomena, none is so routinely disparaged as the House of the 140 Characters.

Deleuze (and Guattari) Items For Sale‘ by Robert Jackson at Algorithm and Contingency:

I’ve come to the conclusion that Twitter, more so than other social network sites, is the logic of one-upmenship par excellence. In order to engage in conversation, one must respond and summarise the previous tweet(s) in one pithy 140 character reply, which cannot help but be troll-esque and mere commentary.

How to stop worrying and learn to love the internet‘ by Douglas Adams at DouglasAdams.com:

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to. So people complain that there’s a lot of rubbish online, or that it’s dominated by Americans, or that you can’t necessarily trust what you read on the web. Imagine trying to apply any of those criticisms to what you hear on the telephone. Of course you can’t ‘trust’ what people tell you on the web anymore than you can ‘trust’ what people tell you on megaphones, postcards or in restaurants. Working out the social politics of who you can trust and why is, quite literally, what a very large part of our brain has evolved to do.

Another problem with the net is that it’s still ‘technology’, and ‘technology’, as the computer scientist Bran Ferren memorably defined it, is ‘stuff that doesn’t work yet.’ We no longer think of chairs as technology, we just think of them as chairs. But there was a time when we hadn’t worked out how many legs chairs should have, how tall they should be, and they would often ‘crash’ when we tried to use them.

We are natural villagers. For most of mankind’s history we have lived in very small communities in which we knew everybody and everybody knew us. But gradually there grew to be far too many of us, and our communities became too large and disparate for us to be able to feel a part of them, and our technologies were unequal to the task of drawing us together. But that is changing.