One of the issues some critics have with the explosion of “democratized media” is brought up by The Economist in its piece on transparency as a replacement for objectivity (an idea described by David Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, and also promoted by new-media analysts such as Jeff Jarvis). Because there are so many sources of information now, many media outlets seem to be moving towards a more opinionated approach to the news — the so-called “Foxification” effect. The magazine argues that this is ultimately a good thing, provided media entities disclose their biases and opinions up front, so that readers can make their own decisions about whom to believe.
Whether we like it or not — and whether traditional media can figure out a way to take advantage of it or not — The Economist is right when it says we have in many ways returned to the coffeehouse era of the early 19th century, when all news was social and most of it was opinionated. And while some worry that media consumers are going to get caught in an “echo chamber” and filter out any opinions they disagree with (something author Eli Pariser argues in his book The Filter Bubble), the main benefit that we have over our counterparts in the 19th century is we have hundreds or even thousands of different sources and voices at our fingertips, if we want to make use of them. Back to the future: Is media returning to the 19th century?
Still not sure where I stand on the whole “is social media activism?” debacle, and I have no idea what #groggate is, but this paragraph says it all! Perfect!