25 May 02008

On Slow Blogging

Postcard from DawdlrAbout a month ago, or maybe two, I was on the sofa at London's Social Media Cafe having a chat to David Wilcox. We had no deals to do, and no pressing initiatives to scheme about, but our interests and contacts overlap at several points, and it was a wide-ranging discussion [Update, 30 November 02008: it turns out Lloyd Davis took a photo of this chat.]. I can't remember quite how it came up, but we started to talk about our approaches to blogging, and particularly the tacit pressure to provide more or less instant comment on developments in our respective fields.

Having recently written a book about how people discover music and other media online, I'm sure my publishers would love it if I were to raise my profile as a digital pundit, passing on the latest news and maybe adding my angle to it. For example, they asked me to provide a few words on the Radiohead In Rainbows story last October.

But, as I explained to David, that kind of thing doesn't come naturally to me. I don't think my first thoughts are necessarily my best thoughts, and often it's better to let the dust settle a bit before passing opinion. For example, it was probably a few weeks before it became clear that Radiohead had made a mistake by not providing a streaming version of their album for people to try it out. As a consequence, the only way for non-die-hard fans to judge how much it was worth to them was to download it — which they did for free, rather than paying, precisely because they didn't yet know if it was worth more than that. In hindsight, I could have made a more telling, and controversial suggestion, about the failure of In Rainbows as a discovery case study, just by waiting a bit.

Maybe, said David, we need a Slow Blogging movement. That was a bit of an Aha! moment for me… but I thought I wouldn't rush into writing about it, and sure enough more useful pointers have emerged since…

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1 May 02008

Culture and Learning: response to consultation paper

A couple of months ago the UK think tank Demos published a consultation paper with the title Culture and Learning: Towards a New Agenda. The paper aims to challenge cultural professionals and educationalists "to provide a new and coherent direction for creative learning and for encouraging creativity through culture", and the consultation period runs until next Tuesday.

I find it a curious intervention, because in some ways it seems to be swimming against the tide. There is a strong emphasis on centralisation and standardisation, the favoured interventions of old-school bureaucrats.

Hat tip to Bridget McKenzie whose own response to this consultation brought it to my attention. And following her lead in making her response public, here is mine, organised according to the six issues that the paper encourages us to address.

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