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Re: <nettime> The Society of the Unspectacular
Jon Lebkowsky on Tue, 12 Jun 2007 16:08:57 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> The Society of the Unspectacular


On 6/11/07, Felix Stalder <felix {AT} openflows.com> wrote:
> On Sunday, 10. June 2007 19:42, Morlock Elloi wrote:
>
> > If "empowerment" of the public by cheap self-publishing has demonstrated
> > anything, it is that a vast majority has nothing to say, lacks any
> > detectable talent and mimicks TV in publishing the void of own life (but
> > unlike TV they derive no income from commercials.)
>
> If media are made by, and for, one's own community (which might be very
> small) then talent and excitement are measured very differently. The
> material on youtube etc is "boring", mainly, I guess, because it was not
> made for you. Most of us produce lots of stuff that is boring to all but a
> hand full of people. But to them, it's great. It's the stuff that used to
> be called private, but is now online because it's the easiest way to get
> to the intended audience of 5 (or 500, or 5000).

I totally agree with Felix's assessment: we now have micromedia for
microaudiences; mass media is competing for mindshare with a massive
and growing "long tail" of small sites and their aggregators. However
I would also argue, based on my own meanderings through this new
information ecology, that much of the content is actually quite good.
The real news for me was how many diverse, insightful, creative,
articulate voices began to emerge as the barriers to publishing
diminished, a process which started with desktop publishing and zines
in the 1980s.

> The technical possibility that "everyone" can watch it is pointing into the
> totally wrong direction. It's doesn't mean that everyone should watch it,
> it only means that the size of the audience is not determined on the level
> of the technical protocol but can scale freely up or down.

Excellent point. My colleagues and I have been discussing how the
default approach to web site development assumes an inherent desire to
reach a mass audience - an overkill approach. We're expecting to see
more and better tools that acknowledge the 'micro' assumption.

> This does, in some from, lead to a fragmentation of the public, not the
> least because the "public" in modern democracies was constituted through
> the narrow bandwidth of mass media. Though I'm not sure if this is the
> reason, as Eric suspects, for the very manifest trend of governments
> withdrawing from public discourse. Yet, for whatever reason, there seems
> to be a inverse relationship between the degree of privacy of ordinary
> people and the secrecy of governments.

I suspect that this is anomalous, a first reaction to increased,
inescapable exposure and scrutiny. Government entities have practical
issues with transparency: there is a significant, exponentially larger
degree of complexity added to government process when it's completely
visible to all and must be responsive on all points. As we evolve
technologies that facilitate transparency, it makes sense to me that
some if not most government entities will try to defeat them, and
their attempts will be more obvious because of exposure through those
very technologies. "We live in interesting times."

~ Jon

-- 
Jon Lebkowsky
jonl {AT} polycot.com
Polycot Associates
http://polycot.com
http://weblogsky.com



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