For some time now, I’ve been interested in studying media trends and how they affect people (in general) and biblical scholarship (in particular). After reading an excellent post regarding media trends by Thomas Baekdal (it’s worth your time!), I wanted to reflect on what his contentions have to do with bibliobloggers and anyone else with a desire to communicate via the prevailing media. I will proceed to do so in 5 posts. Here is the first:
1.a. What does Baekdal contend?
The article takes us on an “(unscientific) tour of the last 210 years of information + 10 more years into the future.” His chart (above) illustrates this well. He suggests that the way we receive and distribute information has a sort of ‘tidal’ quality: new waves of technology have carried in new mediums for communication. In the last decade, the tide has picked up. The tide cannot be infallibly forecasted far into the future, but Baekdal gives us a reasonable forecast that (if accurate) will affect you and me.
1.b. Is the article accurate?
Most of the article deals with observable past trends, and I find the summary acceptable. Additionally, I find his forecast compelling! He seats social-networking on the throne of 2009 (with blogging, websites, and TV holding royal positions, too). He forecasts 3 main trends in the future (1) Social news – hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth; (2) Audio/Video streams; and what he calls (3) Targeted information – information automatically filtered according to your preferences (think ‘Google’). One of the most fascinating forecasts he makes deals with “intelligent information.” I’ll discuss this in a post later in this series.
1.c. Why should bibliobloggers care?
I hope to flesh this out in the next two posts (dealing with how these trends might affect us and how this relates to the identity of a biblioblogger). To give a brief thought: I believe our bottom line is influence. When we write, we desire to influence. Some may be looking for popularity or readership (what’s the difference?) or “peer-reviewed” posts related to their fields, but don’t we click “publish” with the hope that somebody reads what we say? And when they read it, don’t we want him or her to respond in some way? I believe this reflects our desire to influence.
If the content we publish is sound and profitable, influence is precious. If the content we publish is shoddy and poor, influence is useless. If we have no influence, our content is irrelevant. This is why media trends should matter to bibliobloggers: influence.
Update: Interestingly, bloggers aren’t the only ones who care about social media. The military is pretty interested as well!