March 11, 2004

Are We Talking About the Wrong Metaphors Here?

So the last session was about brainstorming and asking questions. The questions in the previous session (Media Minds Meld) are logical, if you are reacting to what's happened to media because of the internet. But I wonder, are we asking the wrong questions here? The metaphors we use to understand media now are based on the metaphors that are based on reporting, editing and distributing news in the old analog system. So, lot's of discussion reliant on these metaphors: "top down vs. bottom up" or "one-to-many" and "many-to-many" (many-to-many is an extrapolation of one-to-many and while it may expand the notion to include the many to be part of distribution, it's still the old distribution model where the many are sending to the many one-way) or "trust of edited or traditional news vs. lack of trust of unedited or non-traditional news" or "the newspaper (even if it's an online newspaper)."

Maybe it's not a top or bottom, a distribution format like the ones we've known, and maybe trust is really a matter of context, awareness of biases and reporting process. What if we go back to the question of what is information? Start there, in the context of the internet, and the ways people can get and use and reuse news and information.

Here is the information piece from Michael Buckland who describes information as:

If information is as much about the process as the knowledge or thing, and I think with the internet, and technology, it is central, then the metaphors we use must originate with the internet, with digital media, not with "newspapers" that in our minds is the 300-year-old model we know. Smart mobs, conversations, readers as editors and fact checkers and testers, feedback loops, linking, and maybe chaos is a metaphor we should look at, just because right now, with the possibility of a million voices, it is chaos, in a way. These may be where we originate from now, but we need to converse first about the metaphor we’re using here before we can frame the questions. That is the real question.

Posted by Mary Hodder at March 11, 2004 02:57 PM | TrackBack