Broadcast vs. Intercast

I can't help it. The old media/new media debate fascinates me, and I can't stop reading about it. I'm only scratching the surface so far, but there's a lot of stuff to wade through, which means sitting a lot, which means blood clots, which means . . . I don't know what that means, but I don't think it's good.

Anyway, all this reading about the journalism wars and what's better about These Days raises questions, such as What's so different, really? Print or laptop screen, it's still a collection of words. But some aspects really do seem to have changed.

The old

  • In print, what's done is done. Your options include things like retractions, apologies, and "clarifications." To paraphrase Carl Sandburg, your words can't hear you calling.

  • It takes a long time to go from notes to typing to editing to print to distribution.

  • It's a one-way communication; it's a broadcast, even if it's on paper.

  • Slick presentations cost a lot of money; a significant portion goes to professional resources to go from typewritten text to glossy publication. Or a non-glossy one, for that matter.

  • Photography for the publication takes time, and possibly also money if you need a professional photographer.

  • Research takes time and effort. And possibly that money thing again.

The new

  • You can edit your stuff, or remove it completely. You can go in and change one or two words, and it's possible—even likely—that no one will ever notice. Hate your entire post? Just nuke it. If you're quick, and lucky, Google won't even have gotten around to indexing the post yet.

  • Type it on your laptop, then hit send.

  • It's an intercast; two-way exchange is easy; so is a thousand-way exchange.

  • Slick presentations began with the "desktop publishing" idea many years ago; now they inhabit the Web, and in fact define it. It doesn't take much to have a slick-looking blog, either.

  • Digital photography is cheap, easy, and rapid.

  • Research takes time and effort, but not nearly as much. Google searches are free.

The list could go on, and perhaps it will, but not today. Blood clots are demanding, and right now, they're demanding I take them for a walk. Who am I to argue?  


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