I turn my back for two minutes…

It’s a little hard to work out exactly what happened amidst the piles of debris, slowly-settling dust, and general confusion, but it looks like Paris-based web conference Les Blogs 3 Le Web has been hijacked by French Presidential hopefuls. Which is… er… weird. But hey, if David Cameron (…’s handlers) runs a video blog, I guess there must be some sort of reflected-glory thing involved and oh I can’t be bothered working it out, actually. There’s a view of the festering corpse of whatever pre-event excitement had been generated at Tom Morris’ blog. Euan’s take is interesting, however, in part because it’s remarkably considered given the general amount of flack that appears to be obscuring matters in Paris.

One odd theme that strikes me from the fall-out: there seem to be plenty of ‘new media’ types who still want to know if ‘old media’ (which now means TV and radio along with print, do keep up) is ‘dead.’ They may have an agenda there (cough), but if they do, then it’s just as simplistic as old media’s often-patronising perspective on the web.

Bits of TV are dead, sure. Some of those bits may not have noticed yet, but they’re dead all the same. Bits most certainly have plenty of life left in them, as the bloggers would notice if they stopped watching Battlestar Galactica for a minute. But none of this is really very interesting, because it falls under the heading gets tagged as ‘bleedin’ obvious’ and ‘divisive.’

What’s interesting, surely, is how ideas are relayed to, and between, audiences. Television was one early transmission protocol, that has serious technical limitations (one-way real-time communication, huge latency on the return path), but also unparalleled reach. Plus, you know, pretty moving pictures. But structurally, it’s really no different to newspapers and magazines (discuss, 20 marks); there are many other forms of transmission, other interaction models, with which we’re finally able to play. And hey, guess what? We really don’t know much about them, because committees and presentations and working groups and colloquia and symposiums and coffee mornings don’t scale to thousands of people, so we’ve just never done this sort of thing before and gosh that’s really exciting and gee, who knew thousands of people sharing pictures with each other would be, like, fun, and hey, what about a bunch of us get together and write an encyclopedia, and… and so on.

Our challenge is to work out which approaches are useful, productive (and/or entertaining), and can be explained to people in words of less than four syllables. Which was, I thought, rather what Le Web 3 was going to be about. It’s certainly why, once upon a time, I rather fancied being there.

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