The Rise of the Digital Natives

Who are the digital children of 2017? e-Learning specialist Marc Prensky coined the term Digital Natives and used it in two major articles he published in 2001 (Part I , Part II, PDF.) Digital Natives, he says, “are used to receiving information really fast. They like to parallel process and multi-task. They prefer their graphics before their text rather than the opposite. They prefer random access (like hypertext). They function best when networked. They thrive on instant gratification and frequent rewards. They prefer games to “serious” work.” ” Continue reading “The Rise of the Digital Natives”

To Whom the Turnstile Spins?

As you may have seen for yourselves, media’s ‘new e-business’ aspirations have caused quite a stir. I have ToingToing!ed about it here and The Financial Times Online offers a decent detailed assessment of the situation, both pieces are offered for free, I hasten to add.  Advertising does not bring in the money anymore (did anyone tell the agencies, BTW?) and so, content providers, such as Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, are desperately looking for new ways to generate revenue.  In an earlier piece I ToingToing!ed about Murdoch’s conundrum: he is trying to recoup a USD 209M loss in quarterly profits incurred by his newspaper division. In what seems like an overreaction, Murdoch decreed that usage charges will be introduced to premium publications (such as the Wall Street Journals, aka WSJ) and that “users would pay “handsomely” for WSJ content.”  This is where the legendary producer Max Bialystock would quip “You keep saying that, but you don’t say how…” Increasingly, many content providers who push so-called ‘new media business models’ name micropayment as their ‘how’.   Continue reading “To Whom the Turnstile Spins?”

Reflection: If this be magic, let it be an art

When one observes magic, let it be clear that the magician is a skilful human, an artist, and not a born wizard. His acts are crafty examples of sleight-of-hand, and no supernatural forces are involved.  

Beyond the wonderfully positive effects of the Harry Potter series (for example, the reported growth in the number of book readers, notably – of children, worldwide), an auspicious downside may be the diminishing in importance of “fake” muggle magic, as opposed to “true” wizard magic. Continue reading “Reflection: If this be magic, let it be an art”

Life at Fahrenheit 451

As a teenager, I literally stumbled upon François Truffaut‘s powerful interpretation of Ray Bradbury’s 1953 book Fahrenheit 451. I went to see the movie simply because it featured Julie Christie, the woman who invaded my pubescent dreams as a blonde Russian siren named Lara in David Lean‘s adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s epic Doctor Zhivago. On my way home from the movie theatre I stopped at a second hand bookstore and bought a copy of Fahrenheit 451:   Continue reading “Life at Fahrenheit 451”

Pulitzer’s Digerate Media Relevance

American media supremo Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911) dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in writing and publishing.  He was an uncompromising and committed journalist who sought to redefine journalism and turn it into a discipline, complete with its public goals, professional ambitions, value systems ethical considerations and criticism of itself, as well as of other. He bought and developed the New York World and St. Louis Post-Dispatch– two well known newspapers of his time.  Pulitzer is credited with coining the term “Yellow Journalism.” Continue reading “Pulitzer’s Digerate Media Relevance”

The Long Tail is Wagging Freeconomics

In 2006, Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, came up with an article with a fascinating theory (later published in a book called The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More) that made some serious waves. Anderson argues that “economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of “hits” (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail. As the costs of production and distribution fall, especially online, there is now less need to lump products and consumers into one-size-fits-all containers.” Translation: if, for example, you own a music store, a shoe emporium, book market or spice stall,  you will only be able to carry limited stock – you will therefore tend to carry only best-sellers, that is, items that have a better than average chance of selling. Continue reading “The Long Tail is Wagging Freeconomics”

Big Brother: shovel or snowman?

Googling “Big Brother” returns 43,500,000 results but Googling “big brother” Orwell removes all but 623,000 results. 

Big Brother is a character in George Orwell‘s novel 1984 (aka Ninety Eighty Four.)  Published a year before Orwell’s death in 1949, the book has a clear doom-and-gloom (dystopic) view of future society. Orwell perceived a future in which the world is divided into three areas: Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania – which includes the United Kingdom (renamed Airstrip One.)  Under the 24/7/365 watchful eye of a ruling technocracy (known simply as The Party), people’s every move and every thought is watched, scrutinised and diarised.  The Party is led by the know-all, see-all master of all Oceanians’ destiny – known only as Big Brother. Continue reading “Big Brother: shovel or snowman?”

Facts vs. Rage

Improbable Research makes people laugh first and think afterwards. The Improbable Research group publishes a magazine is called the Annals of Improbable Research,  and administers the Ig Nobel Prizes – honouring achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.  mini-AIR – their free monthly e-mail newsletter, is thought provoking and hysterically funny.  The March edition includes useful notes “for scientists who are confused by the great debate about global warming.”  The piece quotes a contributor who “has been fascinated by reports that there is a debate” and offers a simple tool she uses when analysing people’s arguments during debates. Continue reading “Facts vs. Rage”

From Gridlock to Double Nelson

In “The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun: an Odyssey of Innocence“, yet another magical book by Paul Gallico, a nine year old boy invents a toy gun that shoots bubbles – but no one cares about him or his invention, not even his dad. The boy then decides to run away from home, and boards a Greyhound bus to Washington DC, in order to register a patent on his invention. On the bus he meets a motley bunch of cameos: a Russian spy, two star-crossed young lovers, and a dangerous killer, the boy also learns to live with the fact that the world is neither kind nor fair. As it happens in other Gallico books, the boy pays for his successful passage from childhood to adulthood with his innocence -and his invention.

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Horizons of Digeracy

The future, as the saying goes, is not what it used to be. But then, for that matter, neither is the past. My late granny used to say that someone who keeps looking at his past has his backs turned to the future. On the other hand, Roman orator, lawyer, politician, and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero, who was – I suspect – not half as formidable as my gran, argued that “[t]o be ignorant of what happened before you were born is to be ever a child. For what is man’s lifetime unless the memory of past events is woven with those of earlier times?” French philosopher Voltaire, on the other hand, agreed with granny – “History” he said “is fables agreed upon.”

Continue reading “Horizons of Digeracy”