JD Lasica concludes several weeks guest blogging at The Importance Of with a big question, one that I have been puzzling over recently: What will happen when we become the media?. He notes that the recent Gnomedex conference seemed a sort of turning point for the new media crowd:
As Adam Curry noted in his keynote, “We are the media.” There’s no doubt about that now.
The consequences of that for public discourse loom large. That’s why, as I wrote my book, I began focusing less on copyright law or the current bills before Congress and more on the long-term outlook for media culture.
The future of television is not about interactive commands that let you buy Jennifer Aniston’s sweater. It’s about putting a blasting cap to big media’s strangehold on our nightly viewing habits by opening up the television experience to the multitude of niche media that ordinary citizens are beginning to create.
The future of movies is not about digital delivery of Hollywood entertainment at the multiplex. It’s about instant access to Hollywood classics, new releases, indie fare and grassroots films, at any time, on any device.
The future of music is not about finding a silver-bullet DRM solution for secure delivery of megastar content. It’s about building new platforms for recommending and filtering thousands of new voices and creative talents that would never make it through the record labels’ sausage factory.
As the cost of the tools of media creativity continue to plummet and ease of use increases, millions more of us will begin taking part in the personal media revolution.
JD is, as usual, running ahead of the pack in his vision. There is going to be a long and painful transition as alternative media begin to supplant mainstream media in all of these areas.
- Long, because the habits of the majority are slow to change, and for many, will never change. My father, for one, doesn’t read blogs, not even my blog, and has never used an ATM machine or written an email. There is going to be a long, long tail for the traditional TV experience, since some people believe that Seinfeld is a sacrament.
- Painful, because deep and fundamental change will disrupt existing business models, and as a result, many people will find their worlds upset. The purpose and patterns of advertising, public relations, and marketing — just to name some obvious areas — are going to have to be completely revamped, and that will lead to a major shakeup in all corners of those industries.
As I first stated at Les Blogs in Paris, publishing companies will need to wise up to the fact that today’s writers — the bloggers en masse — are really a wave of artists, bringing back the ethics of art into written media. The reporter mindset of mainstream media is being jettisonned for something else, something better: I have taken to using the team “artisan journalism” to denote this new sort of writing. Investigative journalism is not dead, but the soulless reporting by know-nothings is going to be replaced by something better: front-line insight by deeply involved, committed, and knowledgeable commentators.
JD focuses our attention on the experience of those who will grow from couch potatohood into involved participants in a media revolution. At the same time, the role of media in society will shift at a profound level, since it will no longer serve only as a channel for the institutional media to push “content” into our lives, and “monetize eyeballs”: the socializing of media is transforming it into a shared place where we can find meaning and make sense of the world through active and authentic involvement.