In this week’s Lift Studios Broadcast, Simon Fraser publishing prof John Maxwell stops by for a conversation about the evolution of online communication and its effects on traditional and new media publishers.
Our conversation stems from a post John had written on Thinkubator this summer, The Message-Oriented Life. In it, John discusses a dream he once had where he thought he was a highly-evolved version of GMail that automatically filtered and sorted electronic communication based on the implied desires of the user at any certain time. John sees such a unified messaging platform as a potential solution to the problems of email deluge and information overload. Being a dream, however, such a vision is wide open for interpretation and we try and flesh out some of these ideas through an understanding of user behaviour, Twitter, pre-blog online culture, and these things called “books”.
Later in the podcast we cite the controversy created by an interview between Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson and the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, where Anderson suggests that the future of “media” will be done by hobbyists moreso than professionals. To quote the (rather hostile) interview, “In the past, the media was a full-time job. But maybe the media is going to be a part time job. Maybe media won’t be a job at all, but will instead be a hobby.” Besides the controversial statement, it’s a good interview that hints on many of the same ideas that we discuss here: how professional publishing works in an era where amateur publishers have more clout than ever; and how making a business-case for a professional publishing operation is becoming harder and harder, among other things.
Rather fittingly, the conversation ends on the subject of infrastructure and the political importance of users having a controlling interest in our day-to-day communications infrastructure.
We look forward to having John in the studio again for another talk, and maybe by then Canadians will have wrestled our digital communications away from the giant telecomms and we can talk about John’s new cell phone. You can follow the activities of CCSP and the SFU Master of Publishing program on Thinkubator (a project in which Lift was happy to assist in), or get to know JMax on Twitter.