I’m surprised how often I see the word “versus” in email. Photoshop vs. illustrator, personas vs. ethnography, email address vs. username, and blogtools vs. CMS. When I was a freshman in art school, I learned a useful word: dichotomy. It was years later I learned phrase “false dichotomy” and I’m wondering how many people have yet to learn it. In particular, I’m thinking of those working in new media/participatory media/social media.
I keep reading how blogs will make traditional publishing irrelevant. I also read how traditional publishing already provides a reliability and consistency that will show blogs to be merely a fad; the geocities of our time. And just over a year ago (I know because my domain registration notice just came) I sat down with friend Lars and added the word false to that particular dichotomy by thinking up PublicSquare.
A dichotomy is defined as “a division into two especially mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities.”
1. Almost everybody talks about blogs and big media (usually thinking about New York Times or Fox news, depending on who has annoyed you most recently). But publishing is currently taking the form of a continuum, from blogs to big media, with wikis, jotspot, writerly, writeboards, scoop and many others filling in the space between one maverick vomiting up ideas to a group refining raw facts into something palatable.
2. Mutually exclusive: Bloggers are adding editors, Om Malik for example, and newspapers are adding– nay, forcing— reporters to blog. Drupal has blog modules and articles modules and the difference is slight.
3. Contradictory. um. yeah. How contradictory are these two writing forms? When I was looking at them recently, they both depended on one thing for success: a person who can consistently write, and write well. Of course someone who writes every day, but only on their cat’s antics and their hair challenges is an aspect of the blog, but is this person really making Arthur Schultzberger tremble in his shoes? A journalist and a (successful) blogger are much of a muchness, except one gets fact checked and edited.
Where revolution is truly happening in my opinion is in the birth of collaborative publishing tools that enable new behaviors in writing, often children of the wiki family. Where blogger and other blog platforms were simply (though certainly impactfully) ways to make writing significantly easier, and came form a long line of tools form the printing press to the electric typewriter to microsoft word. They are all technology to get technology out of the way.
But wikis, writerboard, slashdot and scoop are all trying to get groups to be smart together, to write together and they give birth to a new kind of writing *and* giving voice to one-hit-wonders of authorship.
More on this coming soon… .