on Authority

The recent JanMoir debacle is interesting – it runs an interesting parallel with the Murdoch/Google clash.

I’m not going to get involved in comment here, more as an objective observer on the sidelines. The twitterers among us were up unilaterally in arms about the whole thing. I use ‘unilaterally’, because the trend topic was not debate, but the venting of one view to those with the same view – ‘the converted’.

I can’t help thinking it was one of the first true battles between the old and new forms of media – which one has it’s finger on what (was it) Rousseau called the general will. Of course the new won (‘record complaints to the PCC’ etc reported), with the ‘old’ licking it’s wounds and thinking ‘the more controversial we get the more response we get, ergo be more controversial’ (hence the scene for next battle is set).

It seems to me that our age, to a certain extent, is about breaking down the old structures/establishments that had the moral high ground and therefore authority, and move more towards different a different kind of authority driven by networks that is at the same time appeal to base urges (think of the alcoholic needing his next drink) and a higher moral purpose. Where is this leading? Will we get networks online that are tabloid versus broadsheet?

It’s the speed of information dissemination that is the critical factor, and the ability of any medium to adapt/change in light of this is the determining success factor. Am sure there are shades of Darwin in there… it’s not the intelligent that survive, but those that can adapt. We’ve seen it happening here in the UK for a while now: politicians and expenses, bankers and bonuses, etc etc.


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