Value the Gatekeeper
The Internet is democratic, but has achieved this by removing authority over the control of information. Have editors, the gatekeepers of what is readable,  been dumped in the trash can of time?



Since the Internet got a grip on life some things have been better, but many things are worse and some things are being taken away never to be returned. It's an unequal sort of progress.So here we are, facing changes to what has been part of our culture for hundreds of years.

I don't know about you, but I enjoy reading magazines. The web, even Web 2, is killing this pleasure and it's all out fault. The strange psychology that dominates the early 21st century will surely be looked back on as some sort of collective madness in getting rid of the good and replacing it by something essentially broken. Our culture is dependent on the propagation of information and that propagation has been efficient and fairly painless until now. The Internet, the new source of information for everyone, is democratic, but only in the lowest and basest of senses. It can only be democratic by removing authority over the control of information. The editors, the gatekeepers of what is readable, have been dumped in the trash can of time. Now anyone can blog and anyone does blog. What a hateful word - blog. In years to come it will undoubtedly become a swear word to rival "Belgium".

I like magazines they arrive with a collection of selected articles that I can trust have made it over some sort of hurdle set by the editorial process. I read a magazine not because I have to but because it comes with a recommendation. The Internet has killed or is killing this simple pleasure. Now we browse, or rather graze on, pages provided by anyone, sub edited by no one and appraised by the lowest common denominator. They don't even form coherent blocks of content delivered as a periodical. They rarely say this is what's interesting now and grab your attention on a weekly or monthly basis. Instead you have to hope that a search will accidentally find you something relevant and timely. Of course mostly it doesn't and you give up and do something more useful.

Magazines cannot make the transition to the modern way of doing things, for reasons that are a complex mix of psychology and technology. The web needs editors and publishers to act as gatekeepers but this flies in the face of the perceived value of a free web - how wrong can we be.


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 February 2010 )