More smart stuff from Clay Shirky

More smart stuff from Clay Shirky

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From Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable:

That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. (Luther and the Church both insisted, for years, that whatever else happened, no one was talking about a schism.) Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify.

And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

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2 Comments

Terry Steichen

I don't think people are so much *demanding* answers, as being concerned. I don't think they're *demanding* that newspapers (as they presently exist) be preserved – but seeking to understand how, without them, original news reports will come into being. And, IMHO, they are certainly *not* demanding that they be lied to.

Jeffrey Levy

This is just one of many fascinating transitions happening because of the Internet. Today I was in a meeting where we all agreed that debating whether it's "social" media or "new" media missed the point that soon enough, it'll just be "media," to include every possible way for gov't and the public to interact.
I csn't wait!

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