Putting Gutenberg and Marconi Back in Their Place

Ever had one of those “ah hah!” moments and realized, suddenly and sadly, that you knew that, somehow, but it hadn’t bubbled to the top of your cognitive functions lately? Had one of those a few moments ago as I read Steve Yelvington’s post on the “participatory revolution.”

News is no longer just a report. It’s a conversation, a broad process in which many people contribute to varying degrees.

This is not new, but rather a restoration of normalcy that was disrupted by Gutenberg and Marconi. We humans evolved in tribes, and we digest news and information by sharing it and talking about it with our friends and family. The one-way flow that is characteristic of print and electronic broadcasting is at odds with our nature. The Internet ends that directional tyranny.

Have to remind my students of that. Again. And again. And then at least once more before the next class ends …

Mark E. Johnson

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