Thursday, 20 September 2007

Good Night, And Good Luck

I found this clip on YouTube. I hadn't really noticed the relevance of the lines:
...if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate, and yes it can inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is nothing but wires and lights in a box.
Although about television, it is equally relevant to the Internet. A full copy of Edward Murrow's speech can be found here.

People could post videos of skateboard tricks on YouTube, teaching people not only how to get more from their skateboard, but to show non-boarders what you can do and how skilled you are. Instead, there's cats on tables, and babies bopping to a backing track. Gosh.

You could illuminate people about the difficulties of life in the modern world, or show people that although you're spelling isn't too great, that you are a good bassplayer. You can also show off your work to potential employers, maybe that your spelling has improved, that you've learnt new skills, and that you're reliable.

Or you can switch off and miss the opportunity ... oh look, a cat on a table. And by the time you're done watching that, the world has moved on, and you've fallen behind.

Good night, and good luck.


Hugo said...

Yes, but the WWW has the advantage over TV that you don't have to be subjected to ads, and if what you're reading/viewing is rubbish, it's usually your own fault.

TV owners often just sit there and watch and believe what ever filth is broadcast.

The WWW(the documents, not hardware) is a valuable tool for those that care to more discerning.

Another thing: as yet,(unlike the traditional media) it isn't too government controlled, meaning you're not going to be fed propaganda concerning Iraq, Iran, and N.Korea.


Duncan said...

With a lack of control over the Net, serious issues - like the student being tasered by campus police - can get edited into a 'funny', with no concern over copyright or a deep discussion of the issue.

Adverts are present on the Web, but many people are good at mentally filtering them out. With TV, people often change channels during ad breaks. The advertising companies have problems with both of these models.

With uncontrolled media, you need to know which information source to trust, sifting out which ones are faked. A lot of people trust the old media sources online. As one subject specialist noted in frustration, what's the point in carrying out a detailed subject review if one non-expert says "this is good" or "this is bad", and punters listen to them instead of the trained expert. It's all a matter of trusting your sources. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses.