This piece by Jeff Jarvis is perhaps the best thing I’ve read on the changing nature of the media, that old chestnut of new media v. old media. I have no idea who Jarvis is (yet), but he references folks I am familiar with like Clay Shirky. I also found this piece thanks to NYU J-Professor Jay Rosen’s tweet stream, which seems extremely fitting given the way authority in content has shifted.
I was actually talking about many of these ideas, although far less logically, with a professor a couple of weeks ago. I said much attention had been given to citizen journalists or this trend of user-generated content, but what of the editors? Who chooses the content for the front page when that concept is fast becoming an artifact? I came into NYU with an interest in news credibility and the role of aggregation, still wholly relevant as suggested by Jarvis’ model. Yet now, I am more intrigued by the human link section of his diagram.
I’m finding a huge portion of my information these days through human links via Twitter and Facebook. I also share a consistent amount of links. We are becoming mass editors, taming the information overload through our own identities. Credibility too is less of a top-down, centralized affair and more of a set of individuals waxing and waning trust and popularity with megaphones of various sizes. It’s much more than Gladwell’s Tipping Point, much more than the cool kids creating culture. My grandmother could use her substantial trust capital, and with a dash of branding and base technical guidance from me, generate her own following, her own publishing empire. The possibilities are dizzying, and incredibly fun if you’re interested more in ideas than money. It’s a tough time to be a ruthless capitalist. You need to care or you will bleed out, stabbed by a primordial business model and a new domineering audience.
The content author is still incredibly important. The stuff must originate from somewhere; content is still queen (c’mon did you really think I’d give it to him?). Yet I keep gravitating toward that human link orbit. I’ve long been fascinated by this role called curator. As early as high school, I was noted for my ability to synthesize information from diverse fields, a kind of intellect that feeds on breadth and connection. It occurs to me that this preference is what tractor beamed me to the Media, Culture and Communication program at NYU, and what propels my fascination with social networks. Academia on the whole however, by my observation, favors depth over breadth—the esoteric trapped in a brown tweed blazer with elbow patches and a pipe. This could prove problematic for me if I decide to pursue my doctorate. I’m having a hard enough time choosing a thesis topic. Commit to one idea? Would you tell a bee to only pollinate one flower?
Buzz off! (Follow me and all my flowers, even the wilted Bunnicula-ed ones, on Twitter at gorditamedia.)
Speaking of bunnies (see how I flit about?):