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Platform fixation vs. pattern recognition

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(NB: I *know* – I’m late with this. What? I’ve had a break. It was Christmas…)

That TIME magazine’s judging panel refused to listen to the same crowd it named person of the year in 2006 is amusing and irritating and predictable at the same time. Instead of Julian Assange, it went for Mark Zuckerberg.

It actually says a lot, especially since the cover-story (geddit) will be that despite what readers say, Mark Zuckerberg is the hero of 2010.

You could take it as an example of the thinking error that currently plagues media owners and policymakers everywhere (and good of deal of others besides): in trying to come to terms with the web, they are fixated with platforms rather than the broader trends of the web and the emerging outcomes of those trends.

In other words, they are obsessed with Facebook, Google and Twitter, the media platforms, the channels, the business success stories, and mistaking those for the big deal the important story of what the web is doing to the

For journalists, the story is king. The story that can be told in 200 – 2,000 words, that it is.

It is wishful-thinking, of course. If Facebook were the sum of the social web, if the upstart Zuckerberg were the only person you need to come to terms with, tame and bring into the media estabilshment fold, all would be fine, all would be simple, all would be business as usual.

The uncomfortable truth that Assange represents – one of the uncomfortable truths at least – is that the outcomes of the web, the implications of this world-changing machine are not simple, not merely commercial, not things that be easily categorised, dealt with and assimilated.

It’s not business as usual out there. The more you refuse to fixate on the platforms and open your eyes to the broader effects, the more you will be ready for the (near) future.

: : Broadstuff was on the money with this when it was actually a story, i.e. two weeks ago.

By Antony Mayfield

I'm Antony Mayfield - to find out more about me take a look at my LinkedIn profile (see the button on the home page). You can contact me by email at antony [dot] mayfield [at] gmail [dot] com.

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