14 March 2009
Clay Shirky on newspapers — definitely worth reading! — here’s a few choice quotes:
Back in 1993, the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain began investigating piracy of Dave Barry’s popular column, which was published by the Miami Herald and syndicated widely. In the course of tracking down the sources of unlicensed distribution, they found many things, including the copying of his column to alt.fan.dave_barry on usenet; a 2000-person strong mailing list also reading pirated versions; and a teenager in the Midwest who was doing some of the copying himself, because he loved Barry’s work so much he wanted everybody to be able to read it.
One of the people I was hanging around with online back then was Gordy Thompson, who managed internet services at the New York Times. I remember Thompson saying something to the effect of “When a 14 year old kid can blow up your business in his spare time, not because he hates you but because he loves you, then you got a problem.” I think about that conversation a lot these days.
The old difficulties and costs of printing forced everyone doing it into a similar set of organizational models; it was this similarity that made us regard Daily Racing Form and Christian Science Monitor as being in the same business. That the relationship between advertisers, publishers, and journalists has been ratified by a century of cultural practice doesn’t make it any less accidental.
I can’t help wondering if something similar couldn’t be said about Christian churches and Christian meaning-making? Or at the very least, between denominations and religious meaning-making? In other words, that my local Catholic parish, Spirit Garage, and the Anglican Church in Second Life are all in the same business may have more to say about current cultural practices, than about any intrinsically shared organizational models.
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 14th, 2009 at 9:46 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through this RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.