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MEDIA PERSPECTIVES - August 10, 2016

Editor's Note:


I just wanted to let my readers know that I've created a blog where I will be posting essays and articles I've written on digital and online marketing. It's an extension of Media Perspectives. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Here's the link: Jaffer Ali's Blog - Perspectives from a Media Contrarian

Thanks for Reading!



The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth
by: Jaffer Ali

"Our ability to collect data now outstrips our ability to maintain it for the long run."
-William Michener, University of New Mexico


I have spent my entire adult life in media. Buying and selling advertising is only one part of my resume. My real love is creating content. I have written four books, produced nine documentaries, been the CEO of an e-zine company that published 78 e-zines and recently created 21 micro-publications on Twitter. These micro-publications will soon make their appearance on Facebook.

This personal journey started thirty years ago in the home video business. And despite all the twists and turns, I believe there are still a few more miles to travel before I run out of road. The start of a new year is always a time of renewal. For me, this follows an annual rite of deconstructing the past.

In 1980, our industry was forced to confront the emerging technology of "video". In knee-jerk reaction, studios began suing SONY out of fear that new video duplication technologies would lead to their demise. Thus began a wild-goose chase between efforts to protect copyrighted materials and new technologies developed to break the "copy guard".

We spent over $1 million creating a state-of-the-art editing facility -- a capability that can be achieved far less expensively today with a laptop and some off-the-shelf software. As is its wont, technology has advanced faster than our ability to properly assimilate it, let alone comprehend its business and/or social impact.

"In fact, more technical data have been collected in the past year alone than in all previous years since science began," says Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Alexander Szalay, an authority on large data sets and their impact on science. "The data is doubling every year."

When we moved from analog to digital media, the geeks assumed greater and greater influence in organizations all over the world. And the die had been cast in a most loaded fashion. Disturbingly, albeit predictably, content is now synonymous with "data" in many minds.

The move from "content" to "data" is revolutionary. Data is raked over by technology while content is consumed by humans. And because data is increasing at a pace that overwhelms us, we feel compelled to entrust even more faith in ever-newer technologies to manage it.



Enter the geeks...

Geeks have invaded every layer of the media chain. As the perception that content was nothing more than data took hold, the geeks carried the day. And with so much data now clogging the communications pipeline, content curation has assumed an increasingly important role in the media ecosystem.

Not surprisingly -- with some notable exceptions like the Drudge Report -- curation has now fallen under the spell of "geekdom". Instead of human editors, the geeks are using technology to curate content, often clumsily referred to as "automated content" or data.

Algorithmic selection and its human counterpart will both survive. And whereas my own tastes tend toward human editing versus "algorithmic editing", the future does not turn on my particular tastes. The geeks are in full swagger; secure in the knowledge that as information continues to explode, we will react with new technologies that create more questions than they answer and further delay our day of reckoning with ourselves.

Original Article: The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth

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