The Web is only good for searching and selling according to the New York Times. Oh yeah?
The Times publishes one of those pieces which makes you wonder if the author (Steve Lohr in this case) inhabits the same planet as the rest of us. The gist is that the Net has failed to live up to its promise of creating ‘new media’, and instead has degenerated into an arena where only shopping and searching are viable. Quote:
“The shift to bits promised more than just faster and cheaper distribution of the same old information and entertainment. The digital age held out the potential for a genuinely “new media.” Pundits and media executives spoke about the prospect of everything from interactive television and shopping — click the zapper to suggest a new story line or buy the sweater Jennifer Aniston was wearing on that “Friends” episode ?– to donning goggles and suits to enter virtual worlds offering simulated sports, travel and sex.
But it hasn’t happened. The companies that spent hugely on the “digital convergence” of media and Internet-era computing, AOL Time Warner and Vivendi Universal, which bought Mr. Diller’s media properties, are in turmoil. And their visionary architects, Stephen M. Case at AOL Time Warner and Jean-Marie Messier at Vivendi Universal, have been ousted.”
Note the argument: because some brain-dead Big Media companies couldn’t create ‘New Media’ on the Web, therefore the Web has failed. But who said that new media would be Old Media plus broadband? If Mr Lohr had chosen to look at — for example — the Blogging phenomenon, he would have seen seriously ‘new’ media in action. And then he might then have been obliged to contemplate how radical this phenomenon is — how it involves what Clay Shirky calls “the mass amateurization of publishing”. But print journalists are so locked into their paradigm that they apparently cannot see what’s in front of their noses.