Thoughts on a Greater Conversation
A lot of new developments these days seem to be focused on the creation of news aggregators: feed readers, compilers, organizers, etc. (Like the Times’ new CustomFeeds application.) It seems to me, though, that the next big breakthrough in internet journalism isn’t going to be an aggregator. (I agree that the ability to intelligently sort through the avalanche of material on the internet will be of great value in the coming years, because we’re each constantly inundated with such a volume of information that we cannot process it on our own.)
But wouldn’t it be better to change the tone of that information completely? What if instead of being bombarded by insta-updates about things that don’t really matter, we could tune in to real conversations about the issues that need to be discussed? Everything I’m reading about journalism points to the responsibility journalists have to bring issues and information to the public and to help create an informed democracy. Even more, everything I’m reading about social media points to the intelligence and power of a crowd. Can’t we funnel our collective interest in the world and the internet into a more powerful and important conversation?
It also seems as if people wouldn’t be interested in a such a conversation. We are drawn to information that directly concerns us: updates from our friends or about our distinct interests. (And to celebrities, but that’s another story.) With the changes in commenting structures and social commenting/networking for news articles, however, it seems possible to build a model for greater conversations of issues with members of our social network in a way that could actually interest people.
It just seems logical and helpful to replace some of the quickfire (and useless) second-by-second updates about nothing with quickfire responses to a greater conversation, if it could hold our attention.
Tagged as internet, journalism, media, social networking + Categorized as Journalism & Media