Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I wanted to call it "The End of the 'End of Print' "

In my column , just up at PBS/Mediashift.org, I try to directly take on the blablabla about the End of Print. Given the blabla when this position is publicly asserted, it could get interesting.

The short story is the "End of Print" meme is very similar to the "Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty" meme that I was guilty of propagating back in the 60's. It's less about Print than it is about a new generation coming of age.

Whenever a new generation comes of age, all that went before is "dumb." "Everything will change." "Dinosaurs will be replaced with mammals." This generation will lead us all to the new Jerusalem. It's just a normal part of growing up. I did it in the sixties. The generation of the 1920's did it. The generation of the 1840's did it. And the founding generation in America in the 1770's did it.

Children and young adults, who think they are going to live forever, make the error of clarity in a world of complexity. Young adults, unlike children, also commit the sin of Pride. They are starting to feel their power and are eager to flex it and define the world. That's all to the very, very good.

But as they age, they will discover that what will be done, has been done and that there really is nothing new under the sun. There are only new tools to do the same things that humans have always done. They will also remember that media is not a zero sum game. The rule for media is the more, the more.

At it's base it's always a signal v noise problem. That's why the Tower of Babel story still resonates and blablabla is good, but if you want to manage the risks of the future, science is better.

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