Browsing the archives for the broadcasting tag.

Digital native is digital. (At least he is now.)

Culture, Media / journalism, US culture

At an expert meeting about the future of broadcasting I attended a month or two ago (as mere observer, obviously), one participant simply observed that “the broadcasting era is over”. Not that broadcasting itself will stop, but the era in which it is the primary, central means of disseminating and receiving information and entertainment is over.

An exceedingly smart guy, he waxed a little all too rhapsodically for my taste about what this meant. In an effort to impress the import of the developments on a group of mostly aging, European veterans of old-media policy, he sketched how participatory, democratic online media infrastructures will win an “epic battle” with the traditional ‘command and control’ infrastructure of broadcasting. Which is all fair enough, but reminded me a little too much of those glory days of the 1990s, when visionary internet philosophers declared the dawn of a new age of democratic empowerment. Remember how the net would remodel society into bottom-up communities that would change the very nature of nations and democracy?

To some extent, of course, we did eventually – ten to fifteen years on – come to witness that the net can transform how democracy works, at least in the US: Dean, Obama, etc. But post-national, bottom-up democracy is still a long way coming, and in the meantime the logic of corporate capitalism has firmly reaffirmed itself on a commercialised net.

In defense of idealistic visions, individual users do time and again show that, whichever corporate overlord owns the means of publication, so to say (YouTube, Facebook, Blogger, Flickr), they create most of the content and interaction in ways they never could with newspapers or TV – and pioneer ever new ways to do so.

Results from the Pew survey, overall population. For the under-30s, changes are more drastic (below the fold)

They generate today’s mash-up culture, the corporations merely chase after the results, buying up or clamping down accordingly.

The meeting belatedly acquainted me with the notion of digital natives, coined back in 2001 by Marc Prensky (even their brains are different, did you know?): the new generation of consumers who grew up with the Internet, video games and cellphones. Roughly speaking, that’s everyone born after 1980.

In case you missed it, a Pew report released just before Christmas appears to show these digital natives truly coming into their own.

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