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Reframing the Net

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Reframing the Net

  1. 1. Reframing the Net By Doc Searls
  2. 2. We’re already rebooting our vocabularies Case in point: “Like”
  3. 3. “Like” is to California what “fucking” is to New York To talk in New York, you need to know: the Fucking Insertion Principle: You can insert “fucking” between any two syllables. e.g… “You can in-fucking-sert ‘fucking’ be-fucking-tween any two syl-a-fucking-bles.” (also to Hugh MacLeod)
  4. 4. Unlike “fucking,” “like” causes mental retadation “Like” is, like, a virus for adverbs. Or, like, any speech parts. Like an Andromeda Strain. A Body Snatcher. Because it replaces any or all of them. Why use “very,” “really,” “carefully” or whatever, when “like” does the same job? So, If words are tools of the mind, And “like” empties adverbs (and, whatever) out of the toolbox, We’ve, like, got a lot fucking less to work with.
  5. 5. It’s not all bad. “Like” also replaces “uh” and “um.” And, as Stunk and White said, “Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs.” And, "The adjective hasn't been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place." And, ”It is nouns and verbs, not their assistants, that give good writing its toughness and color.” Also, “like” has nothing on “content” as a cause of mental retardation.
  6. 6. “Like” kills nouns’ assistants. “Content” kills actual nouns. Newspapers and magazines used to have writing, photography and other forms of “editorial.” Broadcasters used to have “programming.” Now they all have “content.” Some of us used to be writers or photographers or graphic artists. Somewhere in the last few years, we all became “sources” of “content.” John Perry Barlow said, “I didn’t start hearing about ‘content’ until the container business started going away.”
  7. 7. So…. we’ve got some thinking to do here. For example: We need to think about, like, why every fucking thing on Earth needs a goddam fucking “business model.” {Idea for a Hugh cartoon} “What’s your fucking business model?” “Does my fucking need one?” Anyway, here’s a question…
  8. 8. Why do we think we need to “monetize” blogs and podcasts? Because the Net is a new world where you can do damn near anything… It naturally follows that you can go into business doing anything. So… Even after the dot-com crash, everybody kept chanting the mantra taught by VCs: What’s your business model? $!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!$!
  9. 9. But… Does everything need a fucking “business model?” What’s the business model for your driveway? Your phone? Your pants? Your floorboards? Your toothbrush? These things are all best understood as useful expenses. The same may be true of many (maybe most) online “media.” Which brings us to the deeper language problem…
  10. 10. It’s unfortunate that the Net looks like (worse, is) a big transport system Because the Net carries ALL previous media — print, audio, video, etc. — We think EVERYTHING is “content” for “delivery” to “users” or “consumers” And we think we can make money with it, just like we did with those other media
  11. 11. As a result, we miss some simple facts: Thanks to the Net, most of us — Have more fun Find out more Contribute more Know more Make more money BECAUSE of (blogging, podcasting, whatever) — than WITH any of those things.
  12. 12. Suggestion: Online publishing may work better as an expense than as a business Case in point:
  13. 13. suffers from contentivitis, or Noun Replacement Disease Else why would it do something as dumb as this?
  14. 14. Contentivitis causes some very screwy thinking. “Treasure trove”
  15. 15. So how do we get our heads around the language problem? By taking Cognitive Lingustics 101. Right now.
  16. 16. QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. There really is a Matrix that tells us what to think and say The real Matrix is the set of concepts we use to make sense of the world. We are not conscious of them. But they do our thinking and talking for us.
  17. 17. The real Matrix is metaphors We think and talk about everything in terms of other things. We literally borrow whole vocabularies. Unconsciously. QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
  18. 18. Every metaphor is a box of borrowed words Concept Concepts frame our understanding
  19. 19. Two Examples Time is Money We “waste” it, “save” it, “spend” it, “invest” it, “lose” it and “set it aside” Life is Travel Birth is “arrival,” death is “departure,” choices are “crossroads” and careers are “paths” QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
  20. 20. No box of words is handier than the War box Compared to War, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance. — George Patton WAR attack • campaign command • defend dominate • entrench flank • force • impact kill • destroy • marshal beach head • cover • bomb target • deploy • blow away
  21. 21. In fact, we can’t even avoid war metaphors anywhere.
  22. 22. So, what do we understand the Net in terms of?
  23. 23. How can you reconcile the First Amendment with the FCC? IF “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” THEN HOW can Congress make laws abridging the freedom of speech, in broadcasts?
  24. 24. Easy: Define broadcasting as transporting content. Not as speech. This difference isn’t trivial. It’s critical.
  25. 25. Broadcasting moves content through media. Speech happens in a place. As we see (from the FCC), “content” isn’t protected. Nor are non-press “media.” The press are still safe. For now. But what about the press on the Net?
  26. 26. There’s a fight going on between metaphors for the Net and the Web We “move” “content” through a “medium” with a “transport” protocol. So, it’s about shipping. We “architect,” “design,” “constuct” and “build” “sites” with “addresses” and “locations” with “traffic.” So, it’s about real estate. We “write” or “author” “pages” and “files” of “writing” that we “browse”. So, it’s about writing. We “perform” for an “audience” that has an “experience.” So, it’s about theater. 1 2 3 4
  27. 27. So, which is best for democracy? Especially personal democracy? The Net is a place for free speech — through writing and equally protected forms. There’s nothing wrong with the other metaphors. We can’t help continuing to use them all. But we need to stand on, and for, the Net as a place where free speech happens. And where free enterprise happens. 1 2 3 4
  28. 28. If we say speech is “content” for “consumers” in an “audience,” we lose. Hollywood wants to regulate “content” Some churches and lobbyists want to restrict “content” Lots of interests want to “protect consumers” in “audiences” Because they think the Net is yet another “medium” But it’s not. It’s a place. For free speech. And free markets too. (content-no.jpg)
  29. 29. Congress and the FCC say we’re all still consumers. They don’t know we’re producers now. Michael Powell: To realize the innovation dream that IP communications promises, however, we must ensure that a willing provider can reach a willing consumer over the broadband connection. Ensuring that consumers can obtain and use the content, applications, and devices they choose is critical to unlocking the vast potential of the Internet. Today, broadband consumers generally enjoy such freedom. Numerous benefits will follow if the industry continues to preserve choices, value, and personalization that broadband users continue to expect and demand. Internet Freedom will promote comparison shopping among the growing number of providers by making it easier for individuals to obtain access to meaningful information about the services and technical capabilities they rely on to access and use the Internet. Moreover, Internet Freedom promotes innovation by giving developers and service providers¹confidence to develop applications that will reach consumers and run as designed, and also serving as an insurance policy against the potential rise of abusive market power by vertically integrated providers. Some in the industry are beginning to recognize the importance of consumer empowerment and the Internet Consumer Freedoms that I have outlined: (1) Freedom to Access Content: Consumers should have access to their choice of legal content; (2) Freedom to Use Applications: Consumers should be able to run applications of their choice; (3) Freedom to Attach Personal Devices: Consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to the connection in their homes; and (4) Freedom to Obtain Service Plan Information…
  30. 30. Speech informs. It’s not about “delivering content.” The difference is critical. “Information” is a commodity: “content. Yet… It is derived from the verb to inform. Which is derived from the verb to form. Meaning that we actually form each other. We are changed by what we learn from each other. In other words…
  31. 31. We are all authors of each other “Authority” is the right we give certain others to form and shape what we know. Google, Technorati and others rank results by the number and “authority” of inbound links. We don’t just find the best information; we find what’s best qualified to form or author what we know.
  32. 32. We don’t inform each other just by “delivering content” Much of what happens on the Net is sharing and improving ideas. This is how syndication happened. Also how new standards and practices grow in — Blogging, podcasting, tags, identity and much more
  33. 33. The Net is a place where the demand side supplies itself No big-brand company invented blogging. Or Wikipedia. Or Technorati. Or Flickr. Or the Web.
  34. 34. If the Net had been left up to The Big Boys, it never would have happened.
  35. 35. Hollywood doesn’t see the Net we see. Or, maybe they do. But they’re afraid of it. And they’ve done their best to kill it. So far they’ve done a good job killing Internet radio.
  36. 36. A little history DMCA passes in October 1998 CARP rules for webcasting finalized by the Copyright Office (of the LOC) in 2001. Many of the best Internet stations go off the Net. No Internet radio industry worthy of the name ever develops. It’s easy to see why.
  37. 37. Jamie Zawinsky: “The word is labrinthine” The webcast is not limited to particular users who pay for it (that's the “non- subscription” part.) The user must not be able to choose and receive a particular recording: that is, no playing songs on demand. In a three hour period, you can't play more than three tracks from a given album, and no more than two consecutively. In a three hour period, you can't play more than four tracks by a given artist, and no more than three consecutively. If the webcast is archived, the archive must be at least five hours long, and must not be made available for more than two weeks. The idea here is to make it hard for users to scan through the webcast to pick out and save individual songs. If the webcast repeats itself (plays in a loop) then the loop must be at least three hours long. The webcast must not publish prior announcements of the songs: you can't let the users know what songs are coming up next, and you can't publish your playlists ahead of time. You must identify the song title, album title, and the featured artist in text during the performance of the song. You must not “encourage'' users to copy or record the music that you are playing, and you must “disable copying by users if in possession of technology capable of doing so.”
  38. 38. It get worse: Required reporting: 1.The name of the service; 2.The channel of the program (AM/FM stations use station ID); 3.The type of program (archived/looped/live); 4.Date of transmission; 5.Time of transmission; 6.Time zone of origination of transmission; 7.Numeric designation of the place of the sound recording within the program; 8.Duration of transmission (to nearest second); 9.Sound recording title; 10.The ISRC code of the recording; 11.The release year of the album per copyright notice and in the case of compilation albums, the release year of the album and copyright date of the track; 12.Featured recording artist; 13.Retail album title; 14.The recording label; 15.The UPC code of the retail album; 16.The catalog number; 17.The copyright owner information; 18.The musical genre of the channel or program (station format);In addition, webcasters must report information on the audience as well: 1.The name of the service or entity; 2.The channel or program; 3.The date and time that the user logged in (the user's timezone); 4.The date and time that the user logged out (the user's timezone); 5.The time zone where the signal was received (user); 6.Unique user identifier; 7.The country in which the user received the transmissions. PLUS: Paying a royalty, on a per song, per listener, basis.
  39. 39. So we need to fight for the world we’ve barely begun to make … one frame at a time.