Saturday, May 16, 2009

House of M: The Manhattan Transfer

Dr M spoke today at Bloggers Universe Malaysia for about half an hour, mostly reiterating his conflict with former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi - explaining why he started turning to blogs and blogging himself.

We all know that his site, is now the most popular blog in Malaysia, with 19 million hits in around one year.

His speech, was kind of like CheDet: Origins.

What interests me is that Dr M has also suggested that perhaps the time of the traditional media could be nearing its end.

Yeah, yeah. The romantics and techno-geeks have been talking about this for yonks, but change is very near. Real change. It's closer than you think.

The times, they are a-changing. And traditional media must change with the times.

Neil Gaiman, chaos be upon him, once mentioned that the whole point for the 1000-odd pages of his magnum opus, The Sandman series of comics, was this: "The King of Dreams learns that he has to either change or die. And makes his choice."

The newspaper, I was told, though had its roots in Ancient Rome with Julius Ceasar's handwritten proclamations, started its revolution in the 17th century. Adapting from the cutting edge of technology at the time - the moveable type.

In North America, in the time of the colonies, the very first newspaper was reportedly a Boston rag called: Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, in 1690.

Blablabla. Printing Press. Blablabla. Industrial Revolution. Radio. Transistor manufacturing techniques stolen by the Japanese. TV. Computers. Apple. Windows. Arpanet. Oracle. Delphi. The World Wide Web. Javascript. Cascading Style Sheets. XML. C#.

Blogs, Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, et cetera.


And here we are today. With dwindling newspaper sales. And ever-decreasing readership.

Personally, I do not believe the newspaper will die a sudden death. Also, I do not believe that it would be so easy to get newspapers up to the numbers it previously enjoyed.

When advertisers find more ways to get their products and their brands on consumer minds, such as giving each of them a virtual car in SecondLife, like what Ford has done. Or organise Alternate Reality games such as the Lost Experience and Ilovebees (essentially a drawn-out multi-media platform treasure hunt).

The world will always need journalists, though I believe the face of journalism will change in the coming years.

We have seen interactive entertainment from 'Choose Your Own Adventure' line of books and Lone Wolf series, to games that are more or less 'Choose Your Own Adventure' motion pictures, with their high quality production values.

Then there's SecondLife, which even has its own embedded Reuters journalist.

The next step in interactivity, I believe, is interactive Governance - online ballots are a step forward in this endeavour and perhaps more participation from the public and populace in the kind of news and views they want to read.

A democratisation of everything. For better, or for worse.

Will we see it, in our lifetime?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Going back to Dr M's speech, some asked whether the traditional media will stand a chance against change on a global scale, which might not favour them if they are not fully prepared to embrace new things.

Dr M said, "Yes, if they publish my speeches."

Well said.