The futures so bright I’ve got to wear …



I am very much in favor of both the increasing access to information and increasing indexing/searchability of information that digital data and an interconnected web provides. As I posted earlier I generally am in favor of moving away from physical books and towards electronic ones that can incorporate linking, media, and annotation as well as potential cost savings. Similarly, I’d have to say that the technological tool that I would buy in a heart beat is the child of a Kindle and a Fujitsu 6012 with 4G access. The wearable computer in its different incarnations (notably Dr. Mann’s always on computer and a computer aided sixth sense) as well as many others are also interesting. For various reasons I’m never going to be on the bleeding edge of technology but I certainly don’t oppose it. Yet some outside discussion has brought up the fact that this earlier post is a fairly pessimistic view of the future of electronic texts.. I have to agree that it is.

So I’m stuck trying to figure out my pessimism. Most likely its really just an overreaction to some of the memes floating around. The overload of “blogging is dead/journalism is dead” that I was running across last week. While its an interesting discussion it tends to focus on the news aspect of the web which is, naturally enough, a segment that is dominated by a quick turn around time, always on mentality. Add a healthy, or not, dose of sites conflating the ideas of blogs and marketing as if the only reason to blog is to make money on it (either currently through ads or by marketing your “brand” and attracting business). Finally season generously with edtech blogs with an almost religious fervor concerning the benefits of web2.0 in education without much of a concern about anything other than getting people using the web2.0.

Even if I don’t have a smartphone (or even a pda) I think the trend towards more and more accessible and indexed data is a very big win overall. But while I feel that the pessimism of my earlier post was rather a passing mood there are certainly questions. For right now I’m going to let this trail off with a list of thoughts and little commentary.

– Why has Wikipedia avoided the tragedy of the commons while others (smaller) wikis often seem to suffer from it and wither away do to no one really adding significant content?
– Digital sharecropping (and perhaps the related digital subsistence farming). What does the Freemium model bring to a discussion of education?
– I wish I could still find a reference to the data I saw that showed the rate of increase of YouTube content increasing over time even as it becomes harder to reach any specific level of exposure/fame/hits/ success. Plus the related idea of average quality going down while total content increases.

* – the idea for the title of this post and the intro picture popped into my head through the association with digital data and digital lives. I am well aware of the grim and ironic nature of the song. There is no intentional reference to any digital-media-is-the-end-of-the-world type of theme!


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