Hossein Derakhsahn states that with social media platforms like Facebook, “The very idea of knowledge itself is in danger”. He goes on to describe how the web started as a text-based medium but has flipped into a new form of broadcast television.
“Social networks, though, have since colonized the web for television’s values. From Facebook to Instagram, the medium refocuses our attention on videos and images, rewarding emotional appeals—‘like’ buttons—over rational ones. Instead of a quest for knowledge, it engages us in an endless zest for instant approval from an audience, for which we are constantly but unconsciouly performing. (It’s telling that, while Google began life as a PhD thesis, Facebook started as a tool to judge classmates’ appearances.) It reduces our curiosity by showing us exactly what we already want and think, based on our profiles and preferences. Enlightenment’s motto of ‘Dare to know’ has become ‘Dare not to care to know.’” —WIRED 2017-10-19
In this ‘knowledge economy’ we all need to become even better at managing our knowledge and not wallow in a post-truth media surround. Mary Hamilton gives some good advice on how to deal with the new media world, after six years at The Guardian, listing 13 lessons learnt. Most of these are pertinent for those of us outside professional journalism, though in Canada, according to our Supreme Court, we are all journalists,
- Data isn’t magic, it’s what you do with it that counts [we can never be better computers]
- People are more important than stories [we all need professional networks for sense-making]
- Management is a technology [“Technology is the application of organized and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems.” —Harold Stolovitch]
- Change is for everyone [perpetual beta]
- Attention is the only thing that’s scarce on the internet [marketing = learning]
- The internet is made of humans [people are for caring]
- Radical transparency helps people work with complexity [transparency sets the stage for trust to develop]
Marshall McLuhan said that the medium is the message. We all need to understand this new medium: now.