16 March 2009

paper view

Lots of things about paper have been popping up around the interwebs recently. Russell's written some really interesting stuff about turning digital things into real, physical things. Then there's the newspaper that the Really Interesting Group did. It was called Things Our Friends Have Written On The Internet 2008. Looked really interesting to me. I buy into the post-digitalness of it, I think. Still, I haven't seen a copy, so I can't really comment. But then Rishi wasn't particularly keen. Thanks to a tweet from Kristian, I saw Clay Shirky's take on newspapers and the business models they are trying to use online. Which is to say that they are trying to transfer old business models to a space where they can't work. There's this PSFK interview with Jonah Bloom about why Advertising Age have pulled an issue in March. And may consider doing more in future. And, lastly, another PSFK interview with Nick Bilton, editor in the New York Times research and development lab. Which sounds like a great job. "Paper is just a device," he says. Which goes back to something Shirky has said, in the post mentioned and elsewhere. To paraphrase, we need journalism, not newspapers. And there's no simple transition from business model A to model B. It's more like business models A to Z. Or maybe it was one to 100. I can't remember. And all of this is probably a long-winded, non-committal and aggregated way of saying: paper. It's the future of some things, and the past of others. If I was to hazard an unpolished thought, I'd say something like this. Paper: it's one of the future faces of distributed personality. It could be a mass audience thing, or a more intimate thing. But it might work better in future as the vehicle of individual expression rather than that of an institution of some kind. Which could also be completely wrong. Ho hum.

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