Monday, January 21, 2008

Citizen, 2.0

It occured to me while "drinkin' my coffee and eatin' my muffin'" this morning....
We have successfully created a persona for Citizen 2.0: a hyper-connected, fully-networked, socio-participant of the digital age.

This is great news, in so many ways. And writing about all of them could take up a lifetime(or a few hours, if the question was posed to the blogosphere..)

So, let's talk about Citizen Journalism 2.0, seeing as it relates quite well to the new media democracy.

In my feeble, humble, modest, opinionated opinion, CJ 2.0(shorter, cooler...) is not about empowerment. In fact, it's about informing. It's goal isn't to enable the masses to produce, but to help the masses stay better informed.

The traditional argument here is that conventional(mass) media brings with it its own set of biases, perspectives, and commentary, which could(dangerously) be used to sway audience perceptions of ground reality.

One of our news channels ran a feature last night, on the aftermath of the Benazir Bhutto assassination. An integral part of the feature was an opinion poll, the results of which clearly showed that 48% of Pakistan felt that Musharraf and his cronies had *something* to do with Mrs. Bhuttos assassination. Now...who knows, right? It could've been Mush, it could've been Al Qaeda, it could've been Nawaz Sharif. But what left me scratching my head afterwards was: "what possible good could come out of an opinion poll on who had something to do with the assassination"??! I mean, this was neither here, nor there. Opinions of people are rarely based on reason, and in a country where emotions are astray after the assassination, I completely fail to see the point in asking for peoples opinions. And not to let the something slide.....what's THAT all about? We're not just speculating about complicity, but we're also speculating about the vaguest degrees of complicity.

But news channels have been producing crap like that for as long back as we can remember. It's a big rush....not just to find news, but also to make news. It's their bread and butter, and it's a any other. Journalism is being fronted by a corporate institution that is forced to keep its economic interests in mind.

How could journalism possibly stay pristine and un-adulterated? The only answer is the Internet. And the only way to understand how it all works on the Internet, is to actually use it. There is little risk, a lot of reward, and no whip lashes if you fail. And if you are being honest + consistent about your messages, there is no failure.

So now that I've downed my muffin and my coffee, I'm thinking about the right approach to citizen journalism, in 'my' world of Internet video.

Someone mentioned
And some folks I talked to about the idea got really excited. And that these excited people are real world journalists, got me spurred.

It's not like we can stay back and let this take its due course. We need to be on the ball, jumping up and down until we make this happen. So we will.

Stay tuned.