Monday, January 9, 2012

Experiential Representation. Are We There Yet?

Experiential Representation. Are We There Yet?

Kevin Depew of Miyanville discusses the passing of a linear news cycle in his recurring post "5 Things You Need to Know".

"Newspapers are a form of linear storytelling. There is a crisply constructed uniform pattern to the content, which is why the rumored "death" of the newspaper is both startling and uncomfortable, especially for those of us who have grown up with newspapers and this form of storytelling. 
"That's why I've been thinking quite a bit about comments Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt made a couple of weeks ago to the Newspaper Association of America. 
"I love newspapers. I love of reading them -- that when you’re finished, you’re done, and you know what’s going on." 
"Indeed. Newspapers and the "news cycle" remain trapped in the linear world of manufacturing-based economies, time tables, clocks, and schedules. It's comforting to pick up the "news" and read it to completion. But this is not how we are increasingly experiencing the world. Further, I would argue that newspapers are but one small battleground of a larger war being fought over the very nature of experiential representation. Ultimately, I expect the non-linear to win at the expense of what we might now call "comfort media"; the newspaper, the televised newscast, almost all programmed "slots" for information and entertainment.
"A release from that world will be (already is in fact) painful but ultimately bullish. Even now there are economic efficiencies and ideas that remain locked in a world of scheduled and pre-programmed activities that are like vestigial organs, adapted and evolved for an economy that no longer exists.
The linear world is familiar and comfortable. Where Eric Schmidt errs is that the news is never done - the reader is charged with "understanding" the content. The continued fragmentation of the linear world will eventually become more and more uncomfortable. We can only watch CNN Headline News for so long before we must change to CNN for the rest of the story. (I only use that as an example, CNN is not on my trusted media list).

Why should we mourn the loss of the mediocre? Why should we mourn the inevitable thinning of the ranks? Kirk Bohls of the Austin-American Statesman made an interesting observation on Twitter. 

How many bowl games are needed to spotlight the best teams in the country? 

The answer is not 70.

How many restaurants have you been in that should have been closed a long time ago; departments stores, other businesses?

Larry Downs of Forbes describes "Why Best Buy is Going out of Business...Gradually." Is the slow death of poor performance and poor performers a reason to be sad?

And, contrary to Best Buy's responses, I would bet with Downs.

We had a dog that was very old and very sick. She couldn't get over the threshold of the sliding glass door to get to the back yard. The veterinarian says "we have drugs that can keep your dog alive for several more years". We decided that was not a good choice.

Bottom Line:

History will still be written, and news will still be delivered in a strong linear pattern. Quantity is not the same as quality. The reader has a duty to chase down truth. 

Yelp, Amazon (see my review of Paul Krugman's book  at Amazon), and many other sites allow you to post your reviews.

What is the proper course of action?
  • Post your comments to drive out the bad players
  • Post your comments to reward the good players  

Are we there yet? No, not by a long shot. 

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