Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Some Observations are Self-Evident

So, Richard Dreyfuss gives a speech at the We Media Global Forum where he says:
"instantaneous knowledge, and the loss of rumination, patience and simply thinking things through."

I could just scream. Why? Becasue I observed, and wrote about the same thing after Al Gore's speech at We Media '05.

I don't know weather to pop a gasket or get an agent. ;-)


Bill Anderson said...

Well, first, keep the gasket, those babies are required.

Second, you are your own best agent, as far as I can see.

Third, the idea that we don't have time to think is a bit bogus. We are choosing not to take time to think. Maybe we have a fantasy about "blink"-ing our way to knowledge and understanding. Thinking things out and through takes time, and when I choose to take that time I'm also choosing to let a lot of other stuff go, and go by. That's the way it is in this particular universe, at least for me.

Tish Grier said...

Bill...commenting on the third point: you are very right. We have to *take* the time--turn off the equipment, not consume. I know some of us over the hill folks know how to do that, but I wonder about younger people. I know that ones who have good parents have taught them how to balance their tech and life, but what about others? and I also worry about our generations (I never know which one I'm part of) and if there are a substaintial number who use all this Media to numb up and tune out the thinking process. Or get so obsessed with attaining information that they're not processing information...

the latest Blogads survey of political blogs showed that the heaviest readers are males between 41 and 50, with incomes bet. 90 grand and 40 grand. I wonder if their political blog reading equals their porn surfing (yes, rather cynical of me)...and if it's all not a way of tuning out...

as for your second comment, I def. have a different view of that one. I think I *suck* as my own agent, or am I reading that comment as a general observation, like a new marketing axiom "you are your own best agent!"

gasket still in place :-)

Bill Anderson said...

Tish, re comment 2: hmmm ... I did mean it generally, and, also, personally. But, hey, I don't really have empirical data on this.

And I do worry what happens to problems whose solutions do require focused and sustained thinking. But maybe there are always a few bookworms hanging out in the library .... Maybe.

Tish Grier said...

we can only hope there will always be geeks!

spcoon said...

tish, pop a gasket because dreyfuss had a revelation that came after yours?

i didn't read the cluetrain manefesto until a few years ago, yet since the mid-90's i've both felt and communicated many of those same ideas and concepts. i don't think that lessens my revelations nor invalidate searls, weinberger, locke and levine.

as for the quote itself, i don't necessarily agree. first of all, the follow up quote, "While we may have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips, do we have the time to process what we learn?" is just plain stupid.

we have the world's data and information (processed data) available at our fingertips; knowledge is what comes after we process it -- whether we're impatient and don't think it through or we contextualize it, check it and validate it.

knowledge -- right, wrong or else -- is the result of our gray matter processes -- the output -- not the input.

but i do think technology has a terribly important role in pulling data and information together in a manner that makes potential knowledge much more accessible to people without the time, nor the inclination, to "ruminate."

to think that isn't an important goal would be a somewhat of an elitist perspective.

the reality is that most americans (most people in general) don't take or have the time to research information anywhere nearly as thorough as bloggers/early adopters.

less is definitely more, but only if the technology supporting this new media ecosystem is extremely elegant and useful.

Tish Grier said...

Sean...I was simply joking on the last line. Went and put in an emoticon after realising there might be some problems interpreting my sense of humor. I am always surprised by syncronicities...

and it may indeed be that technology will help us perhaps "crunch" the data better, what I'm hearing Drefuss and Gore wondering is if we're only going to crunch a certain kind of data that will only support a decision made from an appeal to our emotion rather than our reason (at least that was a part of Gore's concern.)

This is part of the argument that blogs are 'echo chambers'--but I think this particular argument, while it has some validity, doesn't take into account that many blogs are more about feeling less like a voice in the wilderness than they are about being forums for debating issues.

We have to decrease our existentialist angst as much as debate the issues.

Further, I don't think it's necessarily elitist to think that all people should disengage from media and ruminate. When Gore spoke, he was trying to convey the ideal that all of us, in a democracy, are equal and it is upon us to take the time to think before we make important decisions that will effect the future of our country. Right now, at this point in history, I believe there is a lot of fear that we are making bad decisions about our government because we are being influenced by all the input from media, rather than taking the information (data) and using it to help us make the right decision. We don't need a boatload of information--but we *do* need information from trusted sources.

And while I truly respect (and like--I've met a few of them) the group who has put together We Media, I see where the conferences are for Media Personages to get together to try to guage whether or not they can trust We the People to make decisions in a media-saturated environment. It is hard to admit that many of them influence what we are doing. My sense of them is that there are those who are looking at one demographic (18-34 year olds) and using that group as a yardstick to measure media participation by "the people," while there are others who would like to totally discount "the people."

The Media Center has done more with blogs in order to bring in more voices, but I wonder if the powers that be are reading them.

spcoon said...

i read gore's kickoff speach last year regarding the amount of "programmed" information moving through "passive" channels (read: TV) and was thoroughly impressed (even if it was the launch speech for

i absolutely agree that we need to become more of a participatory culture if we want to have anything close to a republic once again.

but what i took from the dreyfuss quote wasn't along the same lines as gore. maybe it just didn't have enough context. to me, gore was railing against misinformation being channeled through passive networks, sucking people dry of the incentive to participate; dreyfuss's comment seemed to focus on the *amount* of information (including the internet) and how immediacy and quantity are negative factors in understanding.

almost as if we'd be better off with less information. to me, that perspective is an elitist perspective.

now, if you combine the two speeches -- passive, sequestered digestion of programmed information and information overload -- we do have an in on our hands.

my point about technology is that it is non-partisan. if we develop sick information retrieval systems, with incredibly easy to use and understand interfaces that frame topics, conversations, etc. in a way that the common man can quickly find and engage with, well, this whole "too much information, not enough time" meme will disappear.

and no, google is not that interface. ;)