It began as a discussion between one of my closest friends and myself years ago. But now with us both beginning our professional lives it is time for the discussion to move up a notch and to become a series of dialogues I hope to have here.
The topic is grand and vague and in most cases too confusing to understand what the hell is going on, but somewhere in the language lies a very interesting debate over the future of human interaction and the creation of art. The Role of The Internet, on its surface a seemingly endless answer with parts that are constantly growing and changing with or against time. But that simple yet confounding fact does not exempt the internet and its future from discussion, just the contrary actually. So now it is time to begin again. Pay close attention Mark, I’m ready to do this on your turf now:
The first concept I have been struggling with is the idea of separating two very distinct areas of the Internet’s development (I don’t mean to say there are only two but rather that there are two that this will focus on, or at least that there are two I don’t want to get confused over). The first is the internet as a tool of communication, as the great democratization of information distribution, where as my friend reported he was able to hear about the Hudson crash through Twitter faster than any “credible” news media service could deliver. Now the second area is the Internet as a medium for the creation and publication of art and it is in this title that I want to explore. I want to look at the pros and cons of the Internet as the democratization of publishing, or rather I want to look at the idea that the Internet is doing such a thing to begin with.
The question at hand is whether or not editors and “credible” publishing services are needed as filters for highlighting what is actually worth reading. On the opposite side of the fence, that of the internet users, the editors are replaced (or augmented by) the sheer populairty given select published pieces by the masses. Thus the question really is: Should the masses control what is read or the editors or some combination of both? We should start with that last addition, perhaps the internet has no intentions of destroying the traditional methods of publication and critisicm, but if that were true than we shouldn’t have seen the destruction of nearly every newspapers book review section save the Times. So it is clear that we can agree a change is happening, and that this change is destroying, to a certain extent, the authority of traditional editors and critics.
But maybe it isn’t destroying them, maybe those critics and editors are moving to the Internet, are combining with it to create a new format for finding the next great literary publication. Along with that point is the Long Tail effect of the Internet to allow for every possible niche market to find itself and its companions, but in order to find what you are looking for in that respect you have to be pretty experienced with how to search, is that an assumption we can make about the masses?
Anyway that’s enough for part 1, I apologize for introducing a lot of differing points but I had to start somewhere. The real question I have for the Internet is this: How will it protect the minority opinion in art if the masses are always dictating the path?