‘Many to Many’ Becomes New Internet Communication Model
Shlain Speaks To Oklahoma Educators, Techies
Our culture is shifting from a communication paradigm of “one to many to many to many,” according to Tiffany Shlain, a leading Internet expert who spoke in Oklahoma City Thursday.
This shift will open up more social networking opportunities as more people communicate through blogs, emails, text messaging, podcasts, and individual videos, Shlain said. The idea of the “isolated” Internet user has become obsolete as more and more people connect on the Internet and create new communities.
Shlain was the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Technology Conference at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City Thursday. More than 600 educators and technical innovators attended the one-day event, which featured presentations and software and hardware displays.
(Here is a podcast that gives an overview of my presentation at the conference. It may take a minute for the mp3 file to upload.)
An expert on the Internet and a filmmaker, Shlain created the Webby Awards, which are given to people who have enhanced the Internet. Former Vice President Al Gore recently received a lifetime achievement award, for example, and one of this year’s winners is Prince.
Shlain’s “many to many” paradigm reflects a shift of cultural power from mainstream media outlets to various Internet communities. These communities include political blogs, volunteer organizations and dating services. The new communication paradigm creates a myriad of new personal and public “spaces” for people in the twenty-first century, she said.
She said the new communication mirrors stream-of-consciousness, which is nonlinear and plural. The term stream-of-consciousness is often used to describe the literary techniques of authors such as James Joyce, whose writing often focuses on the unfiltered and fragmented psychological thoughts of his characters.
In addition, the amount of information on the Internet on sites such as Wikipedia has enabled people to rely less on rote memory, freeing them to develop new ways of thinking and constructing reality, Shlain said. Everyone is now just a click away from finding information. The question becomes: How important is rote memory in the information age?
Shlain called the Internet an “incredible moveable feast” that has transformed the world.
Shlain also showed one of her short films, “The Tribe,” which deconstructs stereotypes about Jewish people and other groups using the life story of a woman who created the first Barbie doll. She recently showed the film at the Sundance Film Festival.
Oklahoma City Not Sustainable?
Oklahoma City ranks 49th out of 50 cities in terms of sustainable living, according to rankings released by Sustainlane.com, an environmental group.
The city gets such a low ranking because of its public transportation systems and lack of carpooling, according to a local news report. Perhaps the main reason for the low ranking, in my mind, is Oklahoma City’s massive sprawl, which requires automobile transportation no matter where you live. This sprawl, if left unchecked, will make it extremely problematic for the metropolitan area in an energy or environmental crisis.
Could it be that homes in those expensive gated communities so far removed from the metropolitan area will someday be worth less than homes in the inner city near public transportation hubs, such as the airport and bus station? I think so.
We should focus on building more infrastructure—office buildings, schools, medical centers—in the central part of downtown to prepare for $5 a gallon gasoline and environmental problems created by global warming.
Perhaps, we also need to create a new public college or build a major (note the word “major” here) branch of an existing public university in the Bricktown area in order to meet the needs of students who are facing rising gasoline prices along with higher tuition costs. The new college would transcend the existing Downtown College Consortium by offering students a full college experience in a thriving, downtown environment. It would also ensure Bricktown’s business success.
Bleakley on Cornett
Bill Bleakley, publisher of the Oklahoma Gazette, has an insightful article in his paper this week about how Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett “has not been a stand-up guy with respect to the handling of his political aspirations.”
I agree. Cornett recently won a new term as mayor and then turned around almost immediately and started looking at his options to run for Oklahoma’s U.S. House 5th District’s seat in 2006. Bleakley writes: “He should have told us . . .”
You bet he should have told us. How well can Cornett run the city and a major campaign at the same time? Oklahoma City citizens deserved to know what they were getting into by reelecting Cornett. And, as Bleakley points out, what if the House race gets “mean-spirited?” How will that affect Oklahoma City?