The 17 Theses of Online Media

In just the last two days, the work of 15 German bloggers has been promoted and translated into seven different languages. It’s a short, to-the-point, brilliant way of thinking about the very different rules that cover the user-generated media of the Internet. These bloggers, as noted by one of the contributors, Janko Roettgers, in a post on GigaOm, put together this to publish and embrace 17 declarations about the future of media production online:

“At the core of the text is the claim that the Internet is a different medium with a disparate social and cultural impact than traditional mass media, and that publishers need to acknowledge these differences, rather than pretending they don’t exist or trying to make them go away.”

17 Declarations about the Internet

Sure, it’s about 78 points short and roughly 490 years off the mark, but this is our equivalent of a Church door, and these are the really smart declarations they agreed upon. And there’s definitely a recurring theme across the seventeen points:

The rules of the Internet—the governing principles and perceived credibility—are created by the audience, and that audience is a pushing force of content, not a passive, receiving audience like those of old.

The Internet is free (as in the speech kind of way), it’s accessible, and it is nearly universal as a communication platform. Ultimately, that centers itself on the idea that the starting point of the online community is a nice horizontal floor, not a high hurdle to be overcome for inclusion.

My favorite example of how this community works is the comments on the English version of the post. Everything from critiques on the “German Internet” through the volunteerism to translate it into more languages. Everyone has an opinion. The silver bullet of the Internet is that we have the means to express them. It’s a dangerous world to try and regulate that in favor of saving how things used to be.

I’ll give the last word back to these smart folks from the continent, but seriously take a minute and read the whole thing.

12. Tradition is not a business model.

Money can be made on the Internet with journalistic content. There are many examples of this today already. Yet because the Internet is fiercely competitive, business models have to be adapted to the structure of the net. No one should try to abscond from this essential adaptation through policy-making geared to preserving the status quo. Journalism needs open competition for the best refinancing solutions on the net, along with the courage to invest in the multifaceted implementation of these solutions.


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