- Part 1 of My Series: “What You May Have Missed in School.”
If you just read the words “Dew Point” and assumed it’s the time of day you can finally crack open a Mountain Dew, you are wrong. You should never reach that point of day. I’m talking about that confusing number you always ignore when you’re looking at the day’s humidity, the thing that looks like temperature, but isn’t.
All across the Internet, websites and services are staging a mass denial of service attack on themselves, to show the world what the world would look like if Big Cable and AT&T solicit bribes to decide which websites you can reach quickly, and which ones are going to go in the Internet slow-lane.
In 2002, having spent more than three years in one residence for the first time in my life, I got called for jury duty. I show up on time, ready to serve. When we get to the voir dire, the lawyer says to me, “I see you’re an astrophysicist. What’s that?” I answer, “Astrophysics is the laws of physics, applied to the universe—the Big Bang, black holes, that sort of thing.” Then he asks, “What do you teach at Princeton?” and I say, “I teach a class on the evaluation of evidence and the relative unreliability of eyewitness testimony.” Five minutes later, I’m on the street.
A few years later, jury duty again. The judge states that the defendant is charged with possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine. It was found on his body, he was arrested, and he is now on trial. This time, after the Q&A is over, the judge asks us whether there are any questions we’d like to ask the court, and I say, “Yes, Your Honor. Why did you say he was in possession of 1,700 milligrams of cocaine? That equals 1.7 grams. The ‘thousand’ cancels with the ‘milli-’ and you get 1.7 grams, which is less than the weight of a dime.” Again I’m out on the street.
A very good take on why all news organizations think they “need a take on that” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, being followed by another take and then another take on the Awl’s take on takes. Shoot us all now.
Jeff Jarvis in The problem with “takes” is the business model of mass media
It’s awkward to participate, let alone try to add anything to this conversation. But there is more to say. Along with a flood of trivial, repetitious “content” there is also a flood of personal sharing through social nets AND a flood, still building, of brands, causes, NGOs and others who are adding their “takes” on everything. Their business models are different, but their publishing goals are similar: attention and influence. They also use the same distribution channels.
So everyone is competing with everyone, shouting to be heard and saying anything to be noticed. Yes, the business model of mass media is broken. But you could go further. Set aside the economics. Mass media is broken. Its crumbling business model is a consequence of this, not a cause. Cacophany is another consequence.
But we can break this down even further. By Mass Media Jarvis doesnt really mean media created or controlled by a lot of people. He means the old kind of mass media - it reaches a lot of people. The business model that has broken down was based on this reach, and also on control of a limited supply. There were only so many radio, TV and print publishers for anyone to deal with - consumers or advertisers.
It’s *that* mass media that is falling apart. A new kind, in which the “mass” creates, shares, comments, promotes as well as consumes, is just getting started. It’s a mess. It’s noisy. There’s too much crap. But there’s also too much brilliance. There’s simply too much. We are shining brightly. It’s amazing, and a riddle for humanity.
Most of the photos in the Ikea catalog aren’t really photos