Thursday, May 11, 2006

The New Information/Communication Paradigm (The Power of Ten)

The old mass media communication style was to broadcast to millions -- appealing to the lowest common dominator of fear, anxieties, prejudices, while the new style targets the highest common denominator of equality. That is the well-proven strategy of finding those who understand what one is talking about -- rather than trying to persuade those who have no idea what one is talking about, and could care less. So it is important that the proper audience self-select themselves for this effectiveness. Otherwise, like so many times in the past, one is forcing an audience to listen to a rant they don’t want to hear -- as though the speaker alone, could determine that appropriateness for the audience.

That is the tyranny of mass communications, and not the freedom of speech, and listening, which is real communication. Often in the former, the audience has to be tricked and deceived into continuing to listen -- rather than knowing from the beginning, and at every point thereafter, that they wish to continue that participation willfully. Often in reading, as well as in listening, one may read (listen) endlessly with no idea where it is all going, and whether it is worth the time and energy to continue. One is advised that if one simply endures, some purpose will be made manifest and apparent. Most of the time though, there is no point other than to consume one’s time, energy and attention -- as an exercise of the power to do so, since no greater insight is forthcoming.

Tyranny and terrorism is very easy to see as an abuse of physical power -- but oftentimes, as a psychological abuse, is greatly admired -- especially by the intellectual class -- those who pride themselves on their largely imagined superiority in such abilities, expressed in these communications. People who are just a little bit more clever with language skills, find it easy to intimidate those less so. But when communications become a universal field of participation instead of just the province and jurisdiction of a self-designated, self-appointed, self-anointed few, society has been transformed and liberated.

When everybody can play, the game is no longer who can speak to the largest captive audience, but who can find his proper audience and reach it best -- no matter what the size, because the ability to replicate that successful prototype, is not a limitation. It doesn’t matter how large an audience one can address ineffectively; it only matters how well one can reach any audience -- even of one. That is the computer model -- that a problem only has to be solved once, definitively well, in order for it to be replicated as many times as one wants/needs to.

One used to be the virtual captive audience whenever someone from the broadcast media spoke, as an implied authority by virtue of that visibility. That was the tyranny of information and opinion -- in the old days. Some still practice it -- and wonder where all the people have gone. The quality and integrity of the communications and information is the only thing that matters now. When that is achieved, the ten can reach the ten, that reaches the ten, that reaches the ten…

That is the improvement of targeted communications over mass communications, whose inaccuracies and distortions are excused by “deadline pressures.” There is no going back. But they are still lamenting their own passing for as long as they can.


At May 11, 2006 8:55 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

I'm not saying one should be ignorant of history -- but it is the understanding of it that leads one NOT to repeat it -- as though it were some inevitable truism that justifies and legitimizes its repetition. Otherwise, one is doomed to repeat the past because one thinks there is no other way to be. That is precisely why dysfunctional organizations like to say, "That's how we've always done it," and go on repeating it.

The only possibility for a breakthrough, is being aware of that pattern, and not making a big fuss about all the problems it causes and then repeating them once more, but going ahead and acting as though there were no dysfunctional tradition to maintain and uphold.

One of the worst dysfunctions is telling somebody else what they ought to do -- as though that were the only prescription for success. What matters is what one does beyond that. Whining and complaining editorial writers and columnists are a penny a dozen -- and never solve anything, and that is the vicious cycle we need to avoid repeating.

At May 12, 2006 10:28 AM, Blogger Mike Hu said...

The great thing about meeting and hanging around some of the most proficient and creative minds in their respective fields, is their irreverence for those who claim to know all the answers -- when they haven’t even begun to suspect the right questions. These are people on the cutting edge of questioning everything -- which makes possible great discoveries, and revolutionize the thinking that makes the continuing improvement and evolution of the human race.

Those not familiar with real inquiries into the core of understanding how we know what we think we do, invariably think that knowledge and information is simply what some unchallengeable expert says is so. But the real pioneers of thought, welcome every challenge to what they know, feeling confident in their ability to counter every challenge -- or finding out the flaws in their own thinking. They are driven by the real quest for truth -- no matter what they may discover. Those are true scientists, seekers of wisdom.

That is the ultimate confidence of feeling one is grounded in the truth, reality -- and not simply in the opinions of others that one is infallible -- and therefore must play that role, as his major function and purpose, merely cultivating that image. Thus any threat to that foundation that is the basis of that status, must be protected at any cost -- until eventually, that is his only reason for being -- to defend the status quo, against all challenges of the new. When the new is multiplying at astonishing speed, the defense of the old is overwhelmed -- and they can no longer limit people’s awareness that there may be much more than they have been told.

That is the information revolution -- far beyond who should be in charge of it. That is the whole point -- that nobody should be in charge of it, collecting the toll by those who wish to own the gateways. It’s a difficult adjustment for many to make -- that information ought to be free rather than owned and provided only to the highest bidders. What information belongs to everyone -- and what can be claimed as exclusive, creative knowledge -- that presumably one developed without the influence and benefit of any other?

In the universities more than any other place, people value information by hoarding it, keeping it secret, for one’s exclusive benefit. However, that is not the only model of information that creates value. The new paradigm is that the more information is shared, the more valuable and useful it is -- for everybody, and not just one individual, who hopes to become a revered something or other -- because he doesn’t feel that essential humanity -- though he may claim that the motivating force in his life was because he loved mankind (but it was people he couldn’t stand getting in his way).

In the schools, the learning of anything has been made into a function of time (rather than of insight). That subject, will take one year to learn, and those who proceed too quickly, or too slowly, will be suitably punished and ostracized. So there is this distortion of what learning is -- that it can be instantaneous, rather than requiring years of attendance to boring lecturers and other pompous people. That is the difference between the authentic -- and that which only tries hard to seem so. To realize that difference, is the critical faculty of these times.


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