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Books & Articles I wrote.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


We the Media - possible optimism

I have just (literally 5 minutes ago!) finished reading Dan Gillmor's excellent "We the Media". What i want to write about is his worry of the large film, music and book organizations preventing grassroots activities that allow sharing and integration of existing materials. This is a theme i noted towards the end of the book and one that really made me think about what the future holds due to something i am looking into.

If things were to stay as they are, i could understand this to be a huge problem. You can't share a section of your favourite song, you can't even copy your songs onto your other PCs without asking permission, you can't copy an e-book, or quote it, derivitive music would become nearly impossible as would films and so on.

The one thing that got me through the book however - and with my own experiences whilst researching http://vidyo.org/ however is that things really aren't going to stay the way they are. I'm sure that for a long time to come there will be management over amazing resources by the large media companies and corporations. DRM and related technologies may cause problems or people in the near future.

However, I see the future being composed of something else. People Power. The essense of the book discusses the potential of the grassroots to change the way media is used and generated today. It is becoming very easy for anyone to contribute and a matter of time becore we better collaborate to create integrated works. Many efforts are underway to realise and enable this.

In combination with this is Creative Commons. This is proving popular - sure some people have various rights they want to hold and this is obviously a good idea, but the point is that they can control their rights at a lower level than generic rights that cover all materials - such as those blanket IP and copyright rules popular in big media. So, individuals can then create content - soon to be integarted collaborative works - and specify the availability for these to be copied and re-used.

Then there are moves toward syndicated and distributed P2P TV, self publishing etc. So we can then get collaborative works with creative commons rights, managed by the creators, which can then be self-distributed and consumed without traditional media organizations having to get involved.

As reputation is built over the net we will see people put more trust in individuals and their opinions (we already expeience this when buying on Amazon) and so HollyWood may become HollyWide.

As the power is pushed towards the indivdual (and here i mean the collaborative creators and not the corporate) as well as access by the consumer, i expect we will see booms in independent media. Books written by me and you, reccommended by him and consumed by her - an cyclical experience where we all win and all control the material. Same with music and eventually even video.

We really are already seeing this with blogs. I read and put more trust in many blogs than i do a lot of publications. I like publications that have blogs as I can read comments and see what people say about the article before i read it. Blogs are early days, but i suspect some will start to generate more money - either as an integrated online magazine of the best blogs or through ads. Then this will happen with other media. I can say copy my blog if you want and those that don't may still exist, but won't get the exposure.

Is this realistic? I hope so - i expect so. I started vidyo.org to allow people to create their own local news events and so on - if it works then why bother with a newspaper everyday? Maybe once or twice a week and over time never. If the people who bring you the news gain a trustworthy reputation you can go direct to the source (newspapers get their stories from them anyway!). In addition you can get what you want - be as local as you want!! Hyperlocality which you don't get from traditional media.

I am fairly optimistic about the future, but then i'm not in the same league as Dan Gillmor when it comes to knowledge of journalism and related issues. I am experienced in many of the techiques and technologies that eneble it - the political (in the loose sense of the word) side of things have really only become of interest through his excellent book.

I'm love to hear what your thoughts are on this post. I am optimistic or missing something? I hope neither, but the advantage of this media is that you can talk back and correct me - value added features you don't get with traditional media (and they wouldn't really want you to have!).

NOTE : I am in Spain for 2 weeks, so although I will try to repond to anything that gets sent, please don't think i'm ignoring you!

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