five, not seventeen

I don’t think I’m stupid.  Now, that might be a brave statement considering I am about to explain an Internet Manifesto that I didn’t quite understand, but here goes.  You can let me know if I need to change that first statement…

Okay, so this Internet Manifesto is in my opinion, a document which is preaching to the converted.  People who have found this document are people who are “computer-able”.  They will be journalists or academics who are comfortable with the internet, with blogging, with social networking and Twitter.  Do they need this manifesto?  Are they able to help their struggling colleague who cannot get their head around new media by posting it on their blog, or linking to it from Twitter?  Probably not.  Or will they print it out for them only to find it in the bin 2 hours later…

The problem with the Manifesto is that it is incredibly difficult to digest.  I had to read it 3 or 4 times before retaining about 25% of it.  The writers, in my opinion outline the 17 declarations clearly, but the definitions and advancements on the sub-headings do nothing to enlighten, only confuse.  If the internet is a world accessible to all, if it is supposed to encourage communication by “active participation of the public” I think the writers, unfortunately do a good job of alienating people by throwing around buzzwords and technical jargon. It is too academic to be applied.

As journalists we are taught to say what we mean in the least possible space and this is why, for me, Alison Gow’s Five phrases to outlaw in Newsrooms is much more appealing.  For one, it only has five things to remember, not seventeen.  Gow goes on to explain how you should make time for online journalism (so make sure you visit her site for a full run-down of what she said – don’t rely on me to fill you in), and how it shouldn’t be a chore.  New journalists should throw themselves into new media to become experts at it, not whinge about it.

My dad introduced me to Twitter.  That is embarrassing enough as it is, but now he’s banging on about Posterous video blogging from his iPhone and all sorts of exciting new developments in the world of Web 2.0.  If he can embrace it, everyone can.  I am excited to learn all the different ways of telling a story.  I just don’t think I will be consulting the Internet Manifesto first…

1 Comment

Filed under journalism, online

One response to “five, not seventeen

  1. DIH

    Your dad speaking!

    Journalistic license applied in your last para. might I be so bold to suggest. You could have praised my thought leadership and struggle to introduce real cultural change within the organisation, but instead you lapsed into ageism. Shame on you 🙂

    I think the more important point you’ve missed over the manifesto, and I’m not going to comment of the content/quality … unless you ask me … is that very few mainfestos are EVER read. They’re position statements, stakes in the sand, aspirational and sometimes objective-orientated that are presented for comment and discussion and maybe agreement, even ultimately acceptance and implementation.

    In a social media world a manifesto would best be mounted on a wiki to allow active refinement with the output being always live, but never completed.

    In the corporate world similar approaches are taken in Guidance Notes, Acceptable Use Policies, Governance Policies and again they are rarely read, but the organisation “feels good” for having them, has a sense of protection against litigation if they’re not adhered to by the user.

    So for the profession of Journalism a manifesto might not be an easy read, but it might with evolution and crafting, become the vehicle for change in the way the journalist operates within society.

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