Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Broadcast Yourself": Proposed chapter conclusion (for DADT-3 book).

Here's a draft of the "conclusion" of Chapter 3 of my DADT-3 book' the chapter is titled "Broadcast Yourself" (and not just "podcast").  It may sound a little more negative than it needs to, as I look at it this morning.  (See the Book Reviews blog, Oct. 1, 2011, for an explanation of what this new book accomplishes.  The proposed title is "Do Ask Do Tell III: Speech Is a Fundamental Right; Being 'Listened To' Is a Privilege".) Here" it" is:

I took a real “risk” and committed myself, more than I could at first grasp, when I decided back in 1994 to get into publishing on controversial issues, doing it myself as necessary.  I was 51 when I made the decision, and it would be hard to make it stand up indefinitely, as I would soon find.  Maybe it was OK if I lived only another 25 years or so.  At this point, I’m not game to join anyone else’s Army or raise anyone else’s babies.

I feel that I did prove that one person can cover a whole “nest” of issues in such a way that he or she attracts visitors continually, over years; his mere presence as a permanent “devil’s advocate” or public ombudsman tends to keep politicians and some corporate interests “honests”.  (I guess Anderson Cooper owns the phrase “Keeping Them Honest” if I own “Do Ask Do Tell”, which has a similar meaning.) Had I not been “out there”, exposed, for fifteen years, possibly we would not have a repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” by now. But we could also give Zuckerberg and Facebook a lot of credit for motivating the repeal.

If is difficult to function as a “general practitioner”.  I do a lot of things: maintain blogs, write fiction and non-fiction books (the first novel is almost ready for final editing as of this writing), play chess, and compose music. Most people can maintain professionalism only by specializing in one or two areas.  But in my case, the different areas produce a synergy with one another.

It’s also difficult to speak out openly for a long time without creating conflicts with personal or professional commitments, however imperfect they sound in terms of moral ideology. Real responsibility for others requires loyalty, sometimes, and a willing to accept limits in one’s reach.  In a broader sense, it relates to the ability to accept forgiveness. 

One of the ironies of the history of the Internet is the way social media has actually tended to reinforce social conformity.  You need a social media presence now in most lines of work, and you need to use it to support your livelihood (and family), and not your ideology. In the final analysis, the Internet has not made it easier to become “famous” by skipping out on the “rites of passage” (or “tribunals”) of real world competition for popularity and profits.  In fact, the idea of “social circles” (more or less like e-mail listserver subscription lists of the past), supposes that the purpose of online activity should be to interact with others, not just to “publish”.  But in my own case, I found that “broadcast” self-publishing (of Web 1.0) did indeed attract the people I wanted into my physical world.  But that opportunity was more effective fifteen years ago than it is today.

There are people who think that Internet self-promotion should not be perceived as a fundamental right (as derived from the First Amendment), but should be tempered by sharing responsibility for others.  Some people want service providers to assume more downstream liability responsibility to prevent piracy (to protect jobs in legacy music and media industries, which might well fear low-cost competition from “amateurs”), to protect children from cyberbullying, and people in general from reputation damage done by others, often anonymously. This invokes all the controversies with the DMCA, SOPA, and Section 230. 

Furthermore, many forces are arguing that companies and advertisers,  should not be tracking consumer browser behavior (on either computers or mobile devices), because this tracking compromises personal security.  Newer browsers are being offered with “do not track” turned on.  (I can tell from the ads that I get that I am definitely being tracked.)   And visitors are appropriately wary of interacting with “commercials”, not always realizing that they are “customers”.  In time, publishing service platforms (like Google’s Blogger and YouTube, and Wordpress) could become less profitable as a result, and the “free entry” world that we expect now could some day come to an end or at least become much more exclusive.  I hope that the Web 2.0 to 3.0 or 4.0 world has an ace up its sleeve to face this business model issue.  The signs that I receive personally – unsolicited calls to “make” or “raise money” with services or products or for goals that do not seem worthy of or warrant my enthusiasm – are not that encouraging so far.
Remember that the Old Testament ends with the word “curse”.  

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