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Web 2.0 Conference: What We Saw At The Revolution

Posted by: Jon Fine on October 26, 2007

In media today, software is trumping storytelling.

This week’s column, about the Web 2.0 conference and ideas revolving around that space, allowed me to riff on a bunch of left-brain/right-brain and left-coast/right-coast notions regarding media that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

I had fun writing it; tell me what you think.

Reader Comments

Sheila Scarborough

October 27, 2007 12:00 PM

How retro of me; I did actually read your article in BW's print magazine. :)

I don't think you're being cranky about Web 2.0 intellectual frothiness. You have the benefit of age and a knowledge of media history, plus maybe you've read in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there's nothing new under the sun. Things are only "New! Shiny!" if one has no historical perspective.

That said (in my most geezerly tone) I agree that amazing things are happening and people SHOULD be curious and excited about them. The Webbies are only human though, and they need to get out more and not live in a techy echo chamber. Most folks do a little email, write up a Word doc, Google for stuff and buy something from Amazon -- that's the Web that they know. It's pretty amazing, actually, that in a few short decades, so many people do all that!

My 76 year-old Dad knows a little PowerPoint, gets annoyed at email laggards and is currently reading Scoble and Israel's "Naked Conversations." Any room of geekazoids who laughs at that outta be shot.


October 29, 2007 12:36 PM

Obviously you covered a lot of material in your column and your previous blog postings.

I was particularly surprised by the idea that Craigslist would garner a laugh as a "search engine." Because of course a techie like myself understands that Craigslist, Amazon and ebay are tremendous search engines. There was a brilliant article I read recently where an older cultural phenomenon opined that someone could become very interested in a product, such as a collectible or an author's work, and do all the research necessary for a web article entirely on ebay. I have dozens of amazing stories like that, my father was reminded of a friend of his who wrote an arcane history book on China and the minute I hit ebay I not only found the book, it was an edition with a long letter inscribed from the author to another one of my father's friends and my father was aware of the inscription from 50 years previous! If that isn't the best part of a search engine that ebay can personify, I don't know what is.

The Web 2.0 juniors are pretty annoying, no doubt, but best of all, they don't understand the technology they're creating and how it is being used to bankrupt alternative companies like the music business and funnel money into the computer/military/industrial complex. Someday we will pine for the days when Steve Jobs didn't have a monopoly on American media culture.

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The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.



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