Sunday, May 07, 2006

The New Media Power Shift: Tool Creators to Content Generators

Today I met with some of my collaborators on the Morocco youth podcasting initiative. I hadn't really understood the power of podcasting until we made a sample podcast and posted it to i-tunes. Recording took all of 3 minutes. We made a brief promo for our Moroccan podcasting site, ("voices of youth"). Transferring the file to a remote server and then uploading it to i-tunes took all of 2 minutes. We had produced and broadcast a basic radio program worldwide in the time it takes to boil water using a server with a monthly cost of a single Starbucks Frappacino. I turned to our webmaster, Gar Green, and said, "this changes everything, doesn't it?" He nodded.

Later, as Gar drove Hicham and I home, we continued our conversation of Web 2.0 and new media. Gar, who is preparing his doctorate in ICT, explained how in the past year or two, digital technology has really rounded a corner. Only a few years ago, the cutting edge of digital technology was only accessible to "geeks" - people with high technical competence. Now, Gar says, new tools allow the technically inexperienced to participate.

There has been a power shift, from tool creators to content generators. Previously the internet was only accessible to highly-skilled programmers who wrote programs and created digital tools. Now the internet is available to the masses. Create your own free webpage at MySpace. Write your own free blog at Blogger. Web tools have been simplified for ease of access. They have been made free and low-cost by creative business models. The real challenge now is creating meaningful content. The power to create this content lies not with the power but with the people.

The bar for entry into the global discourse has been lowered radically. New media will change the world unlike any other technological advance since the printing press. However, unlike the printing press, which facilitated the dessemination of knowledge by recognized experts and well-funded content creators, the web and the tools it now provides in effect put a printing press into every home (in the rich world) or into every cyber cafe (in the case of the developing world). The implications for innovation, collaboration, and the democratization of discourse in every field are unprecedented. This is gonna be so much fun.

categories: cool tools_, citizen journalism_, Morocco_, the "developing world"_

technorati tags: , , ,

Yo, we'd love to work with you guys as we build the Internet Radio Project, which we want to become an archive of youth activist (and other) audio media -- and to help shape what youth do into a more broad, world community.

Could you please signup ++ submit your material? (We'll link up to your site, once we have a youth broadcast directory online -- and please -- languages other than English are welcome!)

--Dave @ IRP (Internet Radio Project)
Dave - Thanks for your interest! Can you write me an e-mail so we can discuss this more (
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