The click heard ’round the world
: Martin Nisenholtz, the very smart and focused head of New York Times Digital, gave a visionary speech this week to the Information Industry Summit [via PaidContent] in which he says that media is awaiting its Pong, its application that unleashes something wholly new and with it a new creative class and a new industry.
Martin keeps dancing around the idea that weblogs could be that thing. He won’t take the last step to annoint them. (“The jury is still out.”) But perhaps he’s reluctant because he’s using the wrong word and thus looking at this thing too narrowly. Yes, a weblog per se won’t change the world. But citizens’ media will. And the weblog is the proof of that concept: It is the Pong. It is the click heard round the world.
Martin lists many characteristics of this messianic Pong he awaits and I agree with all his criteria: It evolves media past its current roles of “sorting, distributing, and making accessible content created principally for other formats, to creating content that is native to the computing world.” It brings users “new and original ways of communicating.” It, like the Web, “is designed to foster social interaction, not just information retrieval.” It causes a “control shift” giving the user that control. He sets up a test:
: First, the medium must be large, global and spawn a new profitable industry.
: Second, the medium must be expressive. It must delight people on an emotional level. It must become a regular part of their life experience.
: Third, the medium must ultimately engender a new collective class of creative people. Think of film, with actors, directors and set designers; or videogames, with art directors and programmers; or newspapers, with reporters, editors and photographers….
Ah, but Martin, that new creative class is nothing less than the people themselves. The citizens create. That is revolutionary beyond creating a new, closed industry that employs a new, limited cast of trained professionals, a new priesthood. This is more than Pong. This is Gutenberg, baby!
But my friend Martin remains cautious even as he is visionary (that’s why he’s successful):
Many are now postulating that Web logs