The Reality of New Media

Writing on consecutive days about getting information from the new media and the Ron Paul campaign, a curmudgeon cannot help but reflect on how those things go together. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the (I think) questionable polling techniques of the Paul campaign, you have to admit that their grip on the Web as an instrument of politics is very firm. As more and more people embrace the technology, the Ron Paul model will become increasingly important in politics.

But it is not only politics. It is everything about how we get our information. Take Wikipedia as another example. There are people that say an encyclopedia that anybody can edit cannot be correct; another group maintains that an encyclopedia like that is more likely to be correct. Give the current sad state of textbook production, which is done by committee and mainly for political reasons, how can people possibly say that Wikipedia is worse than what we have now?

And even as the Ron Paul people take advantage of less-than-ethical polling practices, if indeed you agree they are, it is irrefutable that people are getting more and more of their news and information from the Web. In a way, that makes the Paul supporters the wave of the future, though one would hope that as another campaigns match the Paul team Web expertise, certain checks and balances will be established and maintained. If nothing else, as I told a reader in the comments, it is going to be more difficult to control a majority of voter that it is to control the current Paul one percent.

Nor do I think that the commenter, Fluffy, was correct in his/her assessment of the role of older people in the process. He/she was certainly incorrect in his/her snide comments about older people. I can’t tell you how many older people that I know, beside this old curmudgeon, that are of or nearing retirement age and are nonetheless adept at, and have embraced, the use of internet and Web tools. It is more likely that a 25-year-old will be comfortable with the Web than a sixty-year-old, but it is by no means a hard and fast rule. As just a single example, it is likely that I have been involved with computers for longer than Fluffy has been alive, and with the internet for longer than Fluffy has had email.

That said, the embrace of the internet will continue to grow as people are raised with it. Whether book and newspaper publishers like it or not, current and future generations will continue to embrace new technology, and will probably replace paper books and newspapers with new technology, at least to the extent that we have already replaced brick and mortar stores with on-line shopping. It is inevitable.

Furthermore, I believe that it is good. There will certainly be problems as the old is phased out to make way for the new. That is inevitable and has been an issue for as long as human society has been evolving. That does not mean that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. It just means that our society continues to grow and change. I am a believer in Darwin, and I also firmly believe that societies evolve for the better.


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