I’ve been doing an occasional series of commentaries for New Hampshire Public Radio on topics at the intersection of technology and society. The latest one, which aired this weekend, riffs on an item posted here about using sites like YouTube and Blip to catalog video clips about candidates who visit New Hampshire.
About an hour after the spot first aired, on Friday evening, I received a heartwarming response from an independent documentary filmmaker who said in part:
Just heard your commentary on NHPR, and jumped on YouTube to see your clip.
I wanted to say that your idea is profound and powerful. It’s one of those ideas which is so simple and so obvious you wonder why we all didn’t think of it.
A database of significant clips from candidates is the first thing I’ve come across in a long time that feels fresh and hopeful.
So, the next time a candidate comes to Warner (and lots are scheduled) I’ll bring my camera and upload the clip.
There’s a lesson here for me as well. It’s profound, powerful, simple, and obvious, and I wonder why it has taken me so long to think of it. The lesson is that it isn’t (yet) all about the Internet. Using new media for all they’re worth, blogging and podcasting like crazy, I’ve mostly failed to make connections between a number of important ideas and the vast majority of the folks who could apppreciate and advance them. By reaching out to public radio, I connect with people I’ve never reached before — people who mostly aren’t reading blogs or downloading podcasts, but who are listening to the radio while driving or making dinner.
I haven’t made many of those connections yet, but when I do it feels great and inspires me to try to make more. For example, I’ve struggled for several years to make concrete for people the abstract idea that tags are second-order addresses that create rendezvous points in information space. We in the vanguard just take that for granted. We’re used to attending conferences whose opening announcements include the declaration of the tag (e.g., etech2007) that will be used to aggregate photos and blog entries related to the event. But most people haven’t had that experience yet. So it was a real thrill to see NHPR’s primer on how to tag election-related clips on YouTube and Blip. Thanks to a single two-minute spot on the radio, I’ve helped make that idea concrete for people who will never read this blog.