Alison Fine wrote this interesting post entitled, Times Select RIP, last week.
I strongly agree with her assertion that many folks still "just don't get it" when it comes to understanding that the internet cannot be co-opted. You can't just take your offline newspaper, magazine or brochure and smash into onto the web and assume it will work. Instead, the internet has to be approached as a different medium which has/is fundamentally changing the way people understand, use and access information.
The ability for everyone and anyone in our crazy world to own their little slice of the web to opine, converse and generally tell stories is moving us all away from an interest in and a need for the passive digestion of news. Indeed the wonderful web offers an opportunity for each of us to be a participant in the creation of information, stories and news. More important it offers each of us the opportunity to define what is and is not important. FINALLY!
Being online is not about having the most friends or garnering a huge audience or controlling the flow of information, although these are very seductive ideas. Being online is about sharing a unique viewpoint (hopefully in the context of a larger conversation) and gaining the confidence and skills to find, distill and hang a set of ideas together in one's own unique voice.
"But what about all of the junk out there," you say. Well, you're right, there is lots of trash and bad information. But broadcast media has never been a salve for that wound.
You do need to be critical thinker in this new world because it's not clear who the best and new gatekeepers are. The din of voices also makes it more time consuming to cull through all the information, digest and create a coherent point of view.
"Well," I say, "welcome to the graduate school of life." You have to read widely, listen and pursue the truth in order to grow yourself up. Good luck!