Y2K and the Media
If you’re reading this, you’re old enough to remember the media coverage of the Y2K “catastrophe.” The Y2K problem was a computer issue based in a design flaw in then-current programming, which caused certain date-related processes to operate incorrectly for dates after January 1, 2000.
The total cost of the work done in preparation for Y2K was $US 300 billion.  There are two ways to view the events of 2000 from the perspective of its aftermath:
The vast majority of problems had been fixed correctly, and the money was well spent. The lack of problems at the date change reflect the completeness of the project.
There were no critical problems to begin with, and correcting the few minor mistakes as they occured would have been the most efficient way to solve the problem. This view was bolstered by the lack of Y2K-related problems in the Third World, which in general had not devoted the programming resources to remediation that the industrialized West had marshalled.
—Wikipedia, Year 2000 problem, Was the expenditure worth the effort?
The media made sure we knew about this problem–every day, any place we were.
The media moved our businesses to check our systems and upgrade.
The media also made the Y2K problem larger by over-reporting on actions of fanatics.
I see no evil intent in this. I do, however, see an incredibly unfortunate result of the Y2K media coverage, and the coverage of events like it, on where we are today.
When it comes to the media, I don’t know who or what to believe.
Where’s Walter Cronkite when you need him?
The Smoke Screen
Now the media is dancing around on the subject of blogs and bloggers. “We like you. Stay in your place. We respect citizen journalists. We’ need to be in control. Let us help you. You’ll be out of the way soon enough.” The message is incredibly unclear.
At first I thought media folks were talking down to me. Now, the more I read, the more I realize how much this sounds like Y2K again.
Something is happening, but no one is saying exactly what it is. The story is replete with opinion and conjecture intertwined with the facts. Examples aren’t representative. Words are filled with subtext and connotations. Reporters and bloggers spend as much time discussing each other as they do what’s happening.
I think that all of the talk in the media about blogging is just a smoke screen.
Doc Searls’ Three Scenarios
Brian Clark pointed me to Doc Searls article Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes. It’s not new. Doc Searls wrote it last November. Every blogger should read it to be able to speak about the future of the Internet with fluency. Doc Searls outlines three scenarios in compelling detail–any one of which is plausible.