TCS: Tech Central Station - Will Blogs Produce a Chilling Effect?
"Imagine that mind reading were suddenly imposed on humanity automatically transmitting all our thoughts to those around us. Involuntary telepathy would destroy countless marriages as wives learned of their husbands perverse fantasies. Bosses would fire millions after they found out what their employees really thought of them. Police would be inundated with reports of ordinary citizens contemplating hideous crimes. But eventually we would realize that all humans harbor evil thoughts and an equilibrium would emerge in which we forgave bad thoughts that didn't lead to terrible deeds.
People have more control over their spoken words than their unannounced thoughts, but occasionally most of us still say things we later regret. Recently, three powerful men have been damaged or brought down by their own utterances. Eason Jordan resigned his position as top news executive at CNN because he had allegedly said that the U.S. military was deliberately killing journalists in Iraq. Trent Lott had to give up his position as Senate Majority Leader because of his too-profuse praise of former segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond. And the not-yet former president of Harvard Larry Summers was forced to repent and apologize for suggesting that biological differences might explain the paucity of female science professors."
Thoughts: I see this everywhere. The internet is making things transparent and fully disclosed. So many great things come of this, but we need to be aware that our perspectives are radically shifting. Here we have much over valuation of words spoken by new and old media alike because we suddenly have a huge leap in disclosure of written and spoken words. Likewise, the MPAA is freaking out about any and all music being publicly shared online, suppressing it almost to the point where there is no such thing as fair use in the online public spectrum for their artists. I can't even reference a clip of a RIAA song on my blog for the purposes of discussion for fear of litigation or at the very least a cease and diciest from the RIAA.
The problem here is not that people are suddenly sharing music and that they've never done this in the past, the problem is that we can see everything that's being shared. We need to identify that this huge leap in transparency and disclosure has radically changed our perspectives in news, politic, and media, and we need to change our perspectives and reactions radically before we eat ourselves for lunch... and by ourselves I mean not just bloggers and citizens, but primarily mainstream press and news media. It is they who carry the biggest and sharpest swords.
Yet another case in point, Howard Dean's, "Yeeee Haaa! heard around the world." It ended a political campaign, was this due bloggers posting sound clips or videos around the web? I think NOT. These capabilities were not widely developed and useable at the time. That message went out loud and clear through mainstream press, not the blogosphere.
Which reminds me, there is a media term developed to describe characteristics of media, such as "cool media" and "hot media". I forgot who coined these terms, but it would be very interesting to see how blogging stacks up to traditional media in these terms. Perhaps these terms are not even relevant.