Modern communication methods are absolutely incredible when you really stop and think about it. We started with super simple oral communications and signing with natural elements like fire and paints and moved forward quickly. In the grand scheme of things it seems like mere moments between the rise of popular use of the alphabet to instantaneous international communication. Heck interplanetary communication is possible were there someone on Mars or the Moon to pick it up.
The Three Little Pigs video by the Guardian I’d seen a while back now, yet every time I watch it, it strikes me as a phenomenally good (and clever) recreation of the times we live in. Everyone (who uses the internet at least) is a publisher now. Whether they think so or not, whether it embarrasses them or they embrace it. We are at a point where the opinions of the community are able to matter not just those who previously acted as ‘gatekeepers of the public discourse’. The three little pigs video shows people reacting and acting on a massive scale and quickly to ongoing events. But it’s not that the opinions of these people are mattering as such, they’re there though and able to be commented and judged by all who see them. Social networks are the main platform for this kind of interaction with Twitter particularly of interest because of the ability to link things with hashtags. Linking thoughts in social spaces internationally is unlike any process that has ever existed and is mind blowing in its expansion of the power of language to communicate and inform.
Encyclopaedic organisation on a massive scale is now possible, allowing content to be decided on and written by the people. Sites like Wikipedia have made this an incredibly mainstream process and source of information. With this sort of instant/anyone publishing comes the risk of misinformation though. Things can be rushed into the social space before they’re ‘ready’. Maybe that’s a good thing though, maybe things like opinions and news should be formed in the social space based on the input at all, it creates a fuller picture.
Technology has given us incredible progress in our communicative methods. Despite the challenges, it’s kind of fun watching information become democratised. The digital letters of modern information can be slid around by anyone nowadays, not just the man at the printing press.