Le Web 3: According to June Cohen of TED Media, user-generated content is not new: it’s old media that’s the upstart

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TED Media talks about the way that our media is changing – and that it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve done my best to capture what she said in her own words.

There are 110 million blogs online. Lots of us say things like that, but rarely stop to think just how incredible that number is. It’s seen as something that is beginning to dilute and replace old media. But Old Media is actually astonishingly new. If you took the extent of human history and condensed it into a single day, all of the media we use (books, tv, newspapers) would have been invented in the last 2 seconds before midnight.

Communities, however, have always existed, and that was always the way that information was shared amongst us all – in our villages and round the campfire.

The majority of bloggers aren’t seeking to make a dent on the social fabric, they just want to log birthdays and small events and be the focus of their own little world. They are happier for it, and they feel more connected.

June reckons that the world’s big media will get smaller and will become less a focus of our day. We won’t be handed down news from these large official organisations, and instead we will see the rise of the gifted storyteller. Personally, I’m not sure where that leaves our independent news sources, but having checked out US news channels, I’m not sure they even exist in America anymore anyway, so maybe the web really is the best place to seek out the truth.

TED is about bringing together inspiring people from all kinds of backgrounds to give talks. They are all available online for free, even though the TED conferences are 6,000 dollar conferences. At the time they were seen as mad for doing that, and that you wouldn’t be able to capture the magic of a live event. However, since launch (18 months), TED talks have been watched 25 million times. One talk by a brain specialist was watched 50,000 times in a day.

TV was seen as something that could bring us all together but actually most of us just sit there and watch hours and hours of television. In the old days people used to gather to share the same show and give it their undivided attention, now the networks are desperate just to keep our interest that they flash content up at us. And the more they do that, the worse the content gets. But when we go online and engage with a blog, we give it our attention and interact with it. It is the medium that TV was supposed to be.

(via Le Web 3’s Flickr)

Check out our other posts from the show in the Le Web 3 category.

Katie