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    nmw 15:36:22 on 2016/05/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , cognizance, cognizant, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , online media, , , , , , , , , sapience, sapient, , , , , web sites, , ,   

    First Essay on Rational Media 

    I recently mentioned my new and improved „rational media“ concept… – now I want to begin to try to unpack that idea. Of course, it’s complicated.

    Let me start off with something simple: media (in general). What makes something „media“ (or a „medium“) is not the medium itself, but rather the way people use it. For example: A bottle is just a bottle and not yet a medium. If your concept of „bottle“ presupposes that it’s a medium (for transporting liquids), then you could also just call it an object. The object is not the medium.

    When one person uses the object to deliver something to someone (whether a liquid or a message or whatever), then that object becomes a medium. Why does this matter?

    It matters because that is what the common notion of a „website“ is. When most people talk about websites, they are not actually referring to web sites, but rather the HTML code, the software running on the server, the database, even the wires and cables, the computer being used to display what the user sees, and a lot of other stuff. In the end, they mean what they see when they enter the website’s address (i.e., the web site) into the browser’s location bar. Many people don’t even know what a web browser is, let alone a location bar. Ask 10 people at Times Square what a location bar is, and I bet the majority will look at you kind of funny.

    Long story short: A website is no more a medium than some random object made out of glass. Only when people visit a web site (i.e., a location on the web) with the appropriate technology (e.g. a smartphone, laptop, computer, etc. with some sort of „web browser“ software installed) does a website become a medium.

    So what is „rational media“? Media are rational if/when there is some kind of rational thought process involved when the user decides to visit a certain web site (i.e., location). Here’s a simple example: A user wants to know what the weather will be like today or tomorrow, and therefore they visit weather.com. Or they want to know what people are twittering about, and therefore they visit twitter.com. When they give such instructions to a web browser, then that results in them seeing something on their screen, and they usually call whatever they see „the website“.

    It is important to note that the way I use „rational“ is different than the way the term has often been used in the past. The way the term has been used for many millennia, people often think it has to do with a particular kind of logic – or that there is such a thing as being irrational. The way I use the term, there is no such thing as being irrational – instead: every kind of thinking is rational in its own way.

    Sometimes people say something like „I wasn’t thinking“. This is probably false. What probably happens in such cases, is that people think without being aware of what they are thinking. In the tradition of Freud, psychologists often refer to this as „unconscious“ thinking. Indeed: suggestions which appeal to such thinking are commonly used in advertising.

    Is acting upon enticing or seductive suggestions irrational? I feel it is no more irrational than smiling or hugging or kissing someone. Many such behaviors are also ways of thinking which are sort of „hard coded“ into our mental apparatus. We may not feel we are thinking or behaving rationally, but I think it is more straightforward to consider such motivations to be simply a different kind of rationality… – perhaps nature‘s rationality?

    Does this mean that all media are rational media – sort of like all of nature is natural? Maybe it does – I am not sure yet. At the moment, I feel it is sufficient to say that there are different kinds of rationality. I do feel that in order to be rational, there has to be (at the very least) some sort of decision involved (and perhaps even that such decisions must be made by humans, animals or similar „living“ and/or „cognizant“ beings). I can also imagine a situation in which a nit-picker might be inclined to segment this sort of rationality from that sort of rationality with a fine-toothed comb, and thereby come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a ridiculous thought.

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 17:03:45 on 2013/10/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Omidyar Group, , , online media, , , , , , ,   

    Even Pierre Omidyar’s blogs get censored by Google (and probably by Facebook, too) 

    I heard via the “No Agenda” podcast (#557, 1 hr 29 min 45 sec) that Pierre Omidyar is planning to invest $250 MM in a new media venture:

    Right now, I’m in the very early stages of creating a new mass media organization. I don’t yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like.

    The funny thing is: When I used Google to search for his blog post (I entered Pierre Omidyar Glenn Greenwald), his blog didn’t show up. Only a bunch of mainstream / retard media links.

    I hope Pierre is also willing to invest money not only in “mass media“, but also the media of the masses who are overlooked by mainstream / retard media outlets and search engines like Google and Facebook.

    I would be happy to highlight such media projects — e.g. on Occupy Website.

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 16:23:21 on 2013/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , educational institutions, , , , , , , , , multinational, online media, , schools, ,   

    Liberating the Wheat from the Chaff 

    In the first years of the World Wide Web, players in traditional media pooh-poohed the Internet, saying it was little more than a dogpile. They were quite wrong… — but not completely wrong.

    Back when I wrote the “Wisdom of the Language“, I actually predicted this, indicating that the Web was historically characterized by its academic legacy and North American population — and also saying that more and more of all the world’s “masses” would be coming online over the coming years.

    I have seen my predictions in this regard largely vindicated, and the process will still continue for some time to come. In a few years, being considered literate (i.e., achieving a certain level of literacy that is considered useful for business activity as well as also other activities) will be roughly equivalent with being able to use the Internet.

    Yet what has happened to the overall ability of those who are already using the Internet since the Internet became recognized as a viable media channel is — more or less: nothing. There are vastly more people using the Internet today than there were 10 years ago, but their level of literacy has hardly advanced at all. To put this into perspective very simply: In the past decade, the Internet has become yet another mass media channel. Whereas one or two decades ago, mass media channels were predominantly “traditional media” such as television stations, radio stations and newspapers, today Google and Facebook are just as much mass media channels as are national television networks or newspapers… — in some ways they are even more international than traditional international media channels which have traditionally also aspired to have such a global reach.

    The reason main reason why the Internet has not become a “two-way” or “interactive” media channel the way many had predicted is that the people who got online still by and large lack the basic literacy skills needed to be able to write online. The large multinational corporations operating in online media (such as Google) have basically stepped in to become scribes for people who lack the literacy skills to write without the aide of such a paternalistic “big brother” organization on which they so strongly depend. As such, Google today screens what its users are allowed to see throughout most of the world — and this not only affects illiterate individuals, but also most global businesses run by groups of people who are even more illiterate (mostly because most of the senior management of such global / multinational corporations never learned how to use computers effectively).

    As a result: Much of the world today is as dependent on Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Weibo — and maybe another handful of such companies which offer services to these illiterate masses — as people were dependent on the scribes hundreds and thousands of years ago; much in the same that “new media” companies do today,  traditional “scribe services” offered traditional writing services to the illiterate masses in earlier times.

    Five centuries ago, Martin Luther pleaded with princes and kings to establish libraries and schools, in order to teach the masses traditional literacy skills.

    Today, governments are very reluctant to do the same. On the contrary: Some governments have even declared it a crime for government officials to visit some websites. In other words, not only the masses, but governments are even prohibiting the use of basic online literacy skills within government organizations themselves — let alone educating people how to use “new media” technology.

    The ineptitude of backwards oriented governments is leading some people to acquire these skills on their own. Presently, it seems as though the vast masses of illiterate people will only be able to acquire basic literacy skills through their own initiative and/or through the initiative of family and/or friends who are willing to share these skills in a “peer to peer” manner.

    If this continues for several more decades, then I could see new schools and universities arising outside of the walls of traditional institutions of higher learning. Although I will probably never experience that in my own lifetime, I can imagine that my children might experience something like that… or perhaps my children will be among the ones to reform the outdated educational systems and establish better systems of education — systems which actually teach such basic literacy skills to everyone.

  • Profile photo of feedwordpress

    feedwordpress 10:08:04 on 2012/11/16 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , online media, , ,   

    The greatest danger to the future of free speech is the foolish idea that it is believed to be up to Americans (in the United States) to defend it 

    Many Americans are too naive to recognize when propaganda is being rammed down their throats — and most of them are also functionally illiterate.

    If the rest of the world expects freedom to be “born in the USA”, then they are just as deluded as the typical American / Hollywood media consumer.

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