Left Print Paradox

October 15, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Category: Activism, Society, Web

As we are transitioning out of magazine presentations of Left or Progressive news, news analysis and societal observation and into Internet exhibition of similar content, it looks and feels like we have been presented with several paradoxes.  Paradoxes can seem to disappear once a transition is complete.  The old world view just seems quaint.  Nevertheless, at this point in the process, many print vehicles are experiencing struggle.

Old Model
• Print
• Insight and Erudition
• Professional
• Older Demographic
• Well-researched, articulate, unique content
• Visionary individual
• Community is defined by those that share common values (alliances are with those you respect)
• Hierarchical, segregated, secretive (content is hoarded and shared for money)
• Measured delivery expecting respect for a calm and reasonable presentation
• Unique content

New Model
• Web
• Insight, Erudition, Commentary, Editorializing, Entertaining, Linking, Aggregating
• Amateur
• Young Demographic
• Aggregated, articulate, shared content
• “Wisdom of the crowds”
• Community is defined by those that share common anything (all alliances are ad hoc)
• Horizontal, diverse, transparent (content is distributed to all for free)
• Bombastic presentation expecting traffic for a unique and controversial exhibition
• Combination of unique content, experienced amateur submissions and aggregated current events

Paradox #1:  The medium is the message.  When committing to the web as a vehicle for distribution of content, an organization or community finds that the web process deeply influences the identity of the organization or community engaged in that process.  When content is at least partly user-generated, it reflects the disposition of the users.  When content grows to rely upon experienced amateur and aggregated sources, content reflects process.

Paradox #2:  A Progressive magazine readership community defines itself by its values, beliefs, insights and deep desire to encourage positive social change, engaged in with a combination of compassion and intelligence.  The web process itself is characterized by a dynamic or process that exhibits an egalitarian, horizontal, diverse, transparent, integrated world community but without a focused emphasis on individuals exercising compassion and intelligence engaging in social change.  Again, the medium is the message.  How can we integrate the Left/Progressive message into a medium that behaves in a democratic fashion but often makes it difficult (as regards generating income) to share words that depict the details around the process?  In other words, Left/Progressive content focuses on profound systemic change.  Web process is profound systemic change.  Web process does not easily integrate with strategized, deliberate content.

Perhaps 20 years from now there will be no paradox.  Left/Progressive managed content will have been replaced by Left/Progressive anarchistic process.  Insight and erudition will be integrated into society in the way that information access is being integrated into society through Google and cell phones.  Right now we search for information.  Consider the implications of conducting reports in additions to searches, reports that offer automatic synthesis of the larger patterns made available by all information barriers coming down.  In addition to reading editorials and stories that exhibit insight, we call up reports that offer high quality presentations that reveal patterns concerning what exactly is happening in the world.

For example, I want to know how many people are starving around the world relative to percentages of starving people in the past correlated with how high a tax on beef would have to be to reduce consumption enough to free up land to grow vegetables and fruits to feed the starving that remain.  In addition, I’d like to know the cost of distribution of these foodstuffs.  A person would ask for an answer in the way that we now conduct a Google search.

Transitioning to where we’re headed presents several paradoxes.  Some paradoxes will fade with new technologies.  A result will be institutions that disappear.


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