A palpable hit

Jay and I talked up a storm last night, in front of a responsive crowd in Melbourne’s Town Hall. The questions after our respective lectures were particularly good, although most people didn’t share our general tone of optimism about the new landscape of media.

I hope — and trust — that some of the people who came last night will have gone home, opened their browsers and begun participating in the weblogging world. There were certainly several people I spoke to afterwards who were wondering how their own organizations needed to respond to the changes we described. Could be quite exciting.

5 thoughts on “A palpable hit

  1. Victoria Heathcote

    I enjoyed attending yours and Jay Rosen’s Alfred Deaking Innovation lecture in Melbourne last night, it was thought-provoking stuff.

    I also went to the lecture delivered by Larry Lessig and Joi Ito all who in part spoke about the proliferation of micro media markets (and Anderson’s so-called ‘Long Tail’), blogs, wikis etc and how they’re changing the media, not to say the social, landscape. I do feel excited and overwhelmed all at once but think to myself how difficult it remain to predict what will come.

    Indeed we can fairly predict what certain technologies will look like and do in 5-10 years time by visiting today’s R&D labs, but what we can’t predict is what people will do with these technologies, how they will use these or how they will be ‘remixed’, to borrow a term coined by Lessig. Perhaps it’s timely for us to consider how enduring needs (human / social) will be met by technology, esp. where matters to do with democracy and civil society enter in.

    To this end, technology and determinism and autonomous technology are intriguing and mature fields of study (see Thomas Hughes, Langdon Winner). It occured to me that all the necessary debate and enthusiasm surrounding e-democracy would benefit from deeper techo-philosophical thought. The question might be posed: can you have democracy if it requires that you heavily rely on technology to enable it? Arguably, for democracy to succeed it must be direct.

  2. Graeme Connelly

    I was one of the audience who enjoyed the lecture but also did not share
    the optimism generated by the speakers.
    One cause for my concern is the apparent capacity to manipulate “google”
    that i believe occurs


    I was closely following the press response to the proposed “Mark Latham Diaries” by googling “Mark Latham ” and sourcing various newspaper articles that appeared in response to the publicity surrounding the announcement. A few days after I routinely checked the site and out of the blue, the first entry was no longer the latest article speculating as to which Labor party figures may be demaged by the diaries, instead the Ofiicial labor Party website took pride of place and led with a glowing account of new leader Kim Beasley. How did this happen????

    Surely manipulation by Labor Party Apparatchicks to limit the damage which publicity about the diaries was generating.

    I believe this has been used by Liberal party political minders so that googling one rival candidate brought up the website of the preferred (official) candidate

    So the question I wanted to ask but didnt (queue too long) was this

    If Martin Luther were alive today and nailed his radical theses to the church door, how long would it be before googling “Martin Luther”
    brought up the official Vatican website???

    I have virtually no technical understanding of how the ranking in google is achieved and would appreciate any assistance, even including showing me why my fears (re google manipulation) are mislaid

  3. Mark Fletcher

    I was fortunate to attend the Deakin lecture and found you presentation and that of Jay Rosen thought provoking.

    The intersection of technology advances (making publishing more accessible) and publishers finally realising that quality journalism may matter (having spend the last 2 decades cutting costs and quality) creates for interesting times.

    Selfishly my interest is in the impact on the 4,600 Australian small businesses in the news and information distribution and retail channel. There are indications that publishers will react to falling circulation by cannabilising that channel. A bit like what happened with journalism – cut costs to improve profits. How does one engage with a people focussed so much on day to day survival in business that they cannot hear what is happening around them?

  4. Cameron Grant

    Lance, I was in attendance today at the Town Hall, for the high school component of the program. It was enlightening to hear you speak of the extent of the internet’s power, as a tool for democracy. However, do you think this idea of getting only the information you want, i.e. the ‘consumer-friendliness’ of the internet, is compromising the media’s traditional role? Or does the pure expanse of the internet solve this problem? – providing so much information so easily, that one can quite accidentally broaden their ‘information horizons’. as they do when forced to sift through older media forms, like newspapers and books.

    I think this ties in with the idea, which the council discussed, of coercion in policy. How important is this same coercion in the media, and does the government have any role to play in forcing more information on people through the media?

    I was also interested by your discussion of capitalism providing an impetus for ‘helping’ underdeveloped countries. I wonder, what are your thoughts: is charity paradoxically discouraging the provision of real assitance to these countries? Is there a type of stigma attached to charitable visions, even though they can be compatible with business visions?

  5. Rex Riley

    Nullius in verba:
    I read this lecture online. I gave it 1+ hour of time to recognize that the premise of your thesis “trust no one’s word” is really a challege. You propose a simplified 4 element framework that aggregates, filters, ranks and manages knowledge for all of Society.

    Forget for the moment, that underlying this thesis is the premise – no man think for himself. People couldn’t be trusted to come to their own conclusions – enter “trusted intermediaries”. Of course, this weak pyramid of logic crashes upon it fallibilities when Serendiptity arises.

    The web-road is littered with the remnants of failed aggregator strategies that all failed because the “value” of serendipity gets expunged in the process of machine rank, heirarchy, order and presentation.

    So yes, if you could bottle Serendipity your good fortune could launch an Empire bigger than Google, Blogger, RSS and Wiki combined. But who could we trust with that much Serendiptity?

    Nullius in verba: don’t trust in anyone’s word. Sounds like Truth to me…


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