The last few days I’ve started thinking again about the notion that the ‘net can change the world. Back when the World Wide Web was new, many of us had an almost mystical view of what it might mean for the planet.
Lots of those dreams centered around the way the internet can connect people all over the planet. Connections, communications, it was felt, would lead to better understanding or, at least, better information.
As the Web also became a commercial venture many of those dreams disappeared, sometimes in some embarrassment. Even more dreams have turned into questions as the balkanization of the web of seems to mirror the way talk radio hosts and callers seem to preach only to those who agree with them, often deepening the divide between views.
Opponents Can Respond Rapidly
Late last week I was reading The Guantánamo “Suicides” in the March 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine. It turns out the article was first released on the magazines website on January 18, 2010.
The print version has several footnotes that indicate statements were made by people named in the article after the web posting but in timeto be incorporated in the print version.
Many of these comments have been collected at The Official Response Begins.
Now, I know Harper’s is considered liberal and even elitist, but that’s not the point here. The point is that an almost immediate conversation between the authors, editors, and people named in the article is taking place, and it’s taking place where we, whatever our political inclinations are, can see.
I’m sure this is happening in other magazines and elsewhere. This sort of dialog is important.
Another Kind of Conversaton
Meanwhile, over at Creative Copy Challenge, the stories keep developing.
I’m seeing people find a writing voice there that, I suspect, they didn’t know they had. Some people, me included, have developed mini-serials. Some are writing poetry.
Something important is happening there too.
What These Two Have In Common
I’m sort of chuckling because the two sources, Harper’s Magazine and Creative Copy Challenge seem so different.
The most obvious thing is the communication is happening over the web.
The second is that both are a type of collaboration. At Harper’s its writer, reader of course, and those written about. At CCC it’s writer to writer, although there are probably non-writers reading.
And that’s the third element these two have in common. It’s the writing which means writers. Until we develop mind-to-mind communication, the world will need writers.