Accidental Readers, Altruistic Editors

I have managed to catch two of the three Digital Tribes segments on Geraldine Doogue’s Saturday Extra on Radio National.

Both encounters were by accidental listening.

The trail for the first Digital Tribes discussion was:

… there are clearly differences in the way we are processing information, communicating with each other and forming communities of interest. But what are some of the unintended consequences of readers consuming their news online rather than in print — has the accidental reader disappeared? Does it matter? Is the switch to a more visual medium just an aesthetic shift or is it part of a broader trend of simplifying our knowledge base? And how do these differences feed into the broader debate about politics, democracy, and generational wisdom?

Geraldine discussed these issues with Hugh Mackay.

For the second episode the trail was:

With more and more people consuming their news online, communicating, learning and even spending our leisure time online, it’s clear we are in the midst of some profound social changes. But in what ways the online world is transforming how we think of ourselves and each other is still to be determined. Many argue that the screen and its speed is making us less empathetic, less curious, and less able to think through complex ideas—and yet there is also evidence that our IQs are going up as technologies increase the amount of information and stimulation we receive. So, is the digital revolution leading to a cultural focus on reaction rather than rumination, on answers not questions? And is the death of the generalist newspaper a by-product of that change?

McKenzie Wark was the guest for this program.

The third program in the series was a conversation between Geraldine and Kathy Bail. I liked Kathy’s discussion of blended approaches to content creation and curation.

The three podcasts provide a great resource for anyone thinking about changes to reading habits. They have taken me back to my first memory of public libraries in the late 1950s … a reading room full of people reading newspapers attached to dowel. They have taken me forward in my thinking too particularly in regard to editorial integrity and the potential of slow blogging to support real-time blogging.

(I have been thinking about this post since 14 July and have followed up a number of links to the three contributors. Kathy’s discussion of her work at the UNSW Press was the catalyst for this post after a couple of days of reflection.)

Photo Credits

City Public Library

Live-Blogging 100 Aspects of the Moon, after Yoshitoshi

Accidental Readers, Connected Learners, Curators

I made a couple of short car journeys last weekend.

Long enough, though, to catch some delightful snippets from ABC Radio National.

On Saturday I listened to Geraldine Doog’s conversation with Hugh Mackay on Digital Tribes.

They were discussing the place of reading newspapers in our everyday life and the changes that are occurring in our lifestyles.

Is the switch to a more visual medium just an aesthetic shift or is it part of a broader trend of simplifying our knowledge base? And how do these differences feed into the broader debate about politics, democracy, and generational wisdom?

A podcast of the conversation can be found here.

On Sunday I caught Mimi Ito on a Future Tense discussion of Creativity. In the transcript of the program Mimi observes that:

I think that we are starting to see a shift in what people think of as creative activity, creative work. I think that you’re seeing that even within the domain of commercial media where you’re seeing forms of media that are about remix, that are riffing on earlier media, that are referencing other media, that these forms of expression are becoming much more visible and part of our common idiom.

At more of the populist or amateur layer, I think the positive dynamic is that we are seeing production, media production, curation, circulation really becoming something that people do on an everyday basis, it’s not just the domains of experts and professionals. So we’re seeing a broadening of the base of what people think of as their everyday creativity.

I think it does mean letting go of some of these cherished notions of individual authorship and lone brilliance and creativity that have animated a lot of our imagination about what creativity means. So in the balance I think there are things both gained and lost, but I see a lot of positive potential, especially from the point of view of young people’s creative expression and what the new digital media has to offer.

From Mimi’s contribution I followed a lead to Connected Learning. I think the design principles for Connected Learning make an interesting link between accidental readers and connected learning:

  1. Production-centered
  2. Openly networked
  3. Shared purpose

… and from there I followed up on a link from Stephen Downes to Beth Kanter’s post The Unanticipated Benefits of Content Curation: Reducing Information Overload. I ended up this journey with a visit to Robin Good’s visualisation of content creation tools.

I like the possibility that this is riffing on a variety of media.

Photo Credit

Riffing on a theme – lost mitten

untitled (riffing)