Monday, July 14, 2008

Blogs dead? Who cares? Ubiquity of Connectivity is what matters

The eighth mass media is not about tools. I care little who says blogging is dead or who claims microblogging is the next big thing.

The eighth mass media is where:
we are the connections and the way the connections are made
; beyond silos. It needs tools but it isn't made by them.

It's the direction we're headed in. The sixth and seventh medias (internet and mobile) are helping us on our way.

How we choose to connect, in which silo or with which tools, is less important than that we do connect - and, crucially, as widely and instantly as possible. Blogs are quite good for this. They are considerably less silo'd than your average (what we traditionally think of) social network. Don't write them off just yet.

More importantly Hugh refers us to one of Clay Shirky's more oft-repeated lines (my emphasis):

"Yes, again, it's all about what Clay Shirky said four years ago, in a wonderful interview he did for Gothamist:

"So forget about blogs and bloggers and blogging and focus on this --
the cost and difficulty of publishing absolutely anything, by anyone, into a global medium, just got a whole lot lower. And the effects of that increased pool of potential producers is going to be vast."

Amen to that. We all have cheap, rapid, easy ways of sharing our metadata. That's what publishing has become. Publishing for all. Advertising for all.

We can all share content. Content is the conversation starter, conversation is where ideas turn into action, action is where value is created.

Now we can all share in sharing this. We can all share ourselves.

That is what changes everything.

In some ways the eighth mass media is also the first (as J_Mac pointed out in a comment on the original post).

Alan Moore and Tomi Ahonen's work on Mobile as the 7th mass media lists them thus:
1. Print
2. Recordings
3. Radio
4. Cinema
5. TV
6. Internet
7. Mobile

The eighth is where we are moving towards: We are the eighth mass media. But we were of course always the first, too.

The difference between the pre-mass information age and the post mass broadcast age is speed of transmission and scale of spread both enabled by the ubiquity of connectivity.

We need the sixth and seventh mass medias to enable the eighth.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?