“Prior to the internet, the I-thou quality of mass media could be ascribed to technical limits — TV had a one-way relationship to its audience because TV was a one-way medium. The growth of two-way media, however, shows that the audience pattern re-establishes itself in one way or another.” So says Clay Shirky in his latest essay, Communities, Audiences, and Scale, and I think he’s on to something fundamental here.
At the same time, I do think there’s a middle ground that is quite useful as well, with small communities of people communicating with each other, not one-to-many or even many-to-many in the traditional sense (many individuals interacting with each other), but group-to-group. Groups don’t communicate with each other nearly as effectively as individuals do, but having those larger nodes can help stimulate keeping people in contact with each other while handling broadcast duties as well.
This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.