It’s Less the Device than the Devices

From “Over 60, and Proud to Join the Digerati,” by James R. Gaines, New York Times, November 28, 2009:

Yes, the world of print publishing is going through a fundamental disruption brought about by the Internet. People are being laid off left and right, newspapers and magazines are folding, the book business is floundering.

In the digital world, though, social networks are now bigger than most national populations, more people are consuming more news and information than ever before, and an archive of all the world’s knowledge is being built and streamed to your favorite device. This new world brings with it as much promise as pain. It’s like youth that way.

Media will change as radically as technology allows, and right now the Internet is moving over the media landscape like a tsunami. But the job I learned to love when young was to tell stories, and the story has lost nothing in this transition. It is as elemental and as riveting as ever.

Everybody’s worried about the device. Could Microsoft’s Courier be the answer, or the iTablet? Good question, but not the most important one. It’s less the device than the devices — the crafts and the art of storytelling — that need updating most urgently for the digital world.

The young people I work with now will be the settlers of that frontier, and I can’t think of anything I would rather do than help them get there.

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