Sunday, October 21, 2007

The R/evolution Will Not Be On Television

The medium of video is better than ever, thanks to YouTube. Video content is a lot improved by splitting video into smaller pieces, making the videos searchable, and most importantly, allowing for self-publishing. Helping for niche content authors to get their message out, has as a natural effect, a large proportion of idiocratic nonsense, but there are gems buried in the muck.

Nothing to me is more emblematic of this, than the brilliant videos put together by Michael Wesch of Kansas State University. His latest work Information R/evolution continues the themes in his famous Web 2.0 - The Machine Is Us/ing Us video, which you must have seen by now. The real genius of Wesch's videos, is not just that they explore such interesting ideas, but that they break complex concepts down into very easily digested pieces, while also being fun to watch.

R/evolution expands on ideas about decentralized organization of information. For example, groups of people tagging videos, or digging a new blog post. What this does is allow us to look/find information in more than one way. This is quite different than the top-down categorization typical in physical systems like file cabinets, and just as they are quite necessary there, they get in the way in the virtual information space. Information stored electronically, instead of on paper, allows us to look at that information in a whole different way, but Wesch points out how we constantly tend to confine our views based on the preconceived notions built up in a physical world.

As it just so happens. Gord Hotchkiss has an interesting new posting about some of the implications of these ideas. Hotchkiss's premise is that we are evolving in the ways that we actually perceive information, due to the changes in how we access it.

I have been seeing this lately firsthand in my son's use of his web browser. He was recently unconvinced by my explanation about why he might want to type a web address into the address bar, instead of just typing it into Google and clicking on the first link, as he has taught himself to do...

No comments: