Ethan Kaplan (blackrimglasses) has more precisely said what I’ve been trying to say about the tiresome question, “Will the iPad save [insert medium here]?” He said, “Newspapers ... should think more about modeless innovation and less about atomic device specific innovation. One device does not beget a reinvention of a dying model.”
Modeless innovation. Yes, that’s it.
To me, that means “create something valuable to share.” Screw the delivery media, the “atomic specific devices." All of them. Instead, learn how to enrich users’ lives. Help promote and serve community. Become indispensable by making some part of their lives better.
When I started using the internet, Gopher was the best information retrieval system around. FTP was a killer ap. Email was magic (except none of your friends used it yet).
One day, perhaps soon, the web will seem as antiquated and clumsy as those. The iPad will collect dust. Who knows what the hell the technology will be? I have near-boundless confidence in teenagers and garages. Quantum computing, anyone? Mindcasting?
No matter. Have something valuable to share. Have something worthwhile to say. Contribute something to the common good.
Modeless innovation, baby.
I’ve been thinking hard lately about how virtual goods and social media relate to what we call news. I wrote a little, and hope to write a lot more. But pretty much everything I’ve been dreaming comes under the heading “modeless innovation.”