Saturday, October 04, 2003

BloggerCon 2003 VI

Cluetrain 2003, the Second Superpower: Adam Curry, Christopher Lydon, Jim Moore, Doc Searls, and Elizabeth Spiers.

Adam Curry once hosted MTV's highest-rated program, the Top 20 Countdown. Christopher Lydon founded the Connection show on National Public Radio. Jim Moore is a business and technology strategist who wrote The Death of Competition. Doc Searls is a senior editor for Linux Journal and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto. Elizabeth Spiers is the editor of Gawker, a Manhattan Weblog.

Christopher Lydon: This session is kind of theory and practice, only there's no practice, just theory. The question is essentially the word "transformation." On a scale of 1-10, how big a transformation are we talking about? Doc, you're Mr. Cluetrain. You're in the locomotive. Where is the Cluetrain? Where are we going? Give us a number first.

Doc Searls: Transforming what, exactly?

Lydon: Reality.

Searls: Before Cluetrain, I went through my archives and came across something called Reality 2.0. PCs and the Net have the capacity to vastly transform the ways we do things. Radio and television are going to be vastly changed by syndication, which is an old newspaper thing. I say 100%.

Adam Curry: I view Weblogs a little bit differently. To me, it's just a tool. I see them just as revolutionary as the telephone. How are we going to use this tool? For radio and television, the transformation will be 100% The way your interviews are now distributed, I pick up my iPod, and it has the new Christopher Lydon interview on it. It's reverse Tivo.

Lydon: Is it bigger than the fax machine? Is it as big as the railroad?

Curry: Perhaps this is a start of connecting people's brainwaves? We're acting as human routers.

Elizabeth Spiers: For me, it's kind of hard to say. I have such a granular perspective. I'm a media commentator on my blog. I get paid to navel gaze. The Weblog phenomenon has been unique for me because I'm generally a pessimist. People in the media are thinking about how to take advantage of the medium. To me, it's just a sophisticated extension of the Web.

Lydon: You've even said that in a few years, having a blog will be just like having email.

Jim Moore: This transformation is huge. Hotmail and Yahoo, most of their traffic comes from the third world. Go to Ghana, and you'll see 100-200 Internet cafes. Imagine those people blogging. That's a big deal. In Africa, there's a real interest in not letting the digital divide be bridged.

Lydon: So you're a 10.

Moore: I'm whatever number you want.

Lydon: I want to take it beyond 10. Blogging is a fulfillment of the most classic American writer, Emerson, and his world of expressive individualism.

Searls: I think the first blogs came from Benjamin Franklin.

Lydon: Thomas Paine. I.F. Stone.

Searls: Blogs are a form of collective journalism. What we're doing is deconstructing the Matrix. The Matrix is a metaphor for the media. We have received experience. There's a lot more in the blogs. People are bringing up stuff that no one else is talking about.

Lydon: We're much too modest about what we've discovered in blogworld. Going to public radio or the New York Times is a step down. We've found a shit detector and relevance detector that will change the world. Jim, where's the power of the Second Superpower? They certainly lost the Iraq war.

Moore: This isn't just an individual phenomenon. It's really a collective phenomenon. Howard Rheingold talks about smart mobs. What we need are wise mobs. You can't really blow up a society and then have a democracy spring up. We've made it worse for Jordan in terms of democracy by tearing things up. We need to understand our wisdom, accept our role, think of things like Joi Ito's emergent democracy.

Searls: In 1974, the only outlet people had was to run to the window and yell. I want to see more bloggers in Baghdad. More Chief Wiggles.

Lydon: What about mobloggers among the troops?

Searls: Chief Wiggles is one. What we have is Yell TV and Yell Radio. I heard your interview with Paul Krugman. Then I saw him on TV, and he wasn't really allowed to say anything. He was the guy on the left fighting with the guy on the right. It's not that cut and dried.

Moore: We need a system that allows for deeper and deeper truth finding. I respect diversity in the collective, but at any given moment, you need to assess the wisdom of that collectivity.

Lydon: Do we want to talk about human nature?

Question: Human nature argues against the utopian views expressed here. Networked communications has the power to find like-minded people. It's human nature to seek facts that agree with you. I'm optimistic, but I'm not that optimistic.

No comments: