Wednesday, March 16, 2016

This is Not the Age of Information: Twelve Years of ContentBlogger Comes to an End

This is not the age of information.

While this may seem like a disconnect from twelve years of blogging about content and technology, the human aspects of what I have tried to do through Shore Communications Inc. have been the real constant of my practice. What creates value for humankind? What connects us to one another in ways that are life-sustaining? Ultimately, this the essence of the art and science of human communication.

Data is dead - in the sense that it is not, in itself, life-giving, but also in the sense that the very notion of "information" belies what content - and life - is about. Data has consequences for flesh and blood, for the very air that we breathe. The semantic processing revolution that we're engaged in today points to this strongly - it's not just that we want to crunch data more effectively, it's that crunching alone no longer cuts it. The objective is losing, and the human is winning.

The corollary of this is that mass media is dead. As publishers have retreated ever further into extending copyright to the point that the notion of public domain is considered an anomaly, they have lost their moral imperative to increase the wealth of all people through their arts and sciences. In spite of Open Access, Creative Commons, and a host of other constructive paradigms for making information accessible and usable on a fair basis, most of the world's most creative information is dark for entire generations.

In ancient times, a slave was someone who could work to get their freedom within their lifetime - an indentured servant. Today, content is enslaved for generations via copyright - life plus seventy years in the U.S., even more in many countries, in spite of the Universal Copyright Convention suggesting life plus twenty-five years. The world creates its own content value outside of copyright as the result of these efforts to enslave knowledge - and yet the enslavement of many essential published works goes on.

This is not the age of information. The world screams out for social context and influence through publishing, but in spite of the rise of social media, much of the world's publishing capital languishes in companies that are just minding the moats of their copyright castles. The Signal Economy is taking off like a rocket, and yet often we still fail to respond to the world's most fundamental needs through these signals. We focus on new-shiny solutions rather than the gut-wrenching issues of fundamental human survival, dignity, and worth.

We can do so much more, so much better. And yet, sadly, too often, we don't.

My work is done here at ContentBlogger. I am moving on. I must respond to my innermost callings to do things that are of more fundamental worth in life.

I am grateful for all of the people and organisations that have supported my career in this industry for so many years, and I still count many of you as my friends. I wish you all the best in your careers, and in what lies beyond your careers. I am especially grateful for all those people who encouraged me to speak at various events, and to develop a broader vision for what content is about through my book Content Nation.

I would not be taking the path that I have chosen in life without the lessons and encouragement that so many of you have provided me. You all helped me to see who I really was. If that was not always what you may have hoped me to be for you, I am sorry for that, but I am not sorry to be who I am. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been of service to you, no matter what. You have been generous, kind, and good.

I will still be using the lessons of my experience in the content and technology industries for years to come, as I transition to a new career, and, who knows, I may yet surface in a new role as I pursue that career. So this is not a farewell, but simply a reflection on what it means to see a new path, to take it, and to invite you to join me in a new journey - if it interests you. Be well, be whole, be at peace always. Thank you, and may God bless you all.
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