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TECH TALK: Letter to a 2005 Baby: 10 Big Ideas (Part 4)

June 23rd, 2005 · No Comments

Dear Abhishek,

5. Fragmentation of Media

The big (almost untold) story of the recent years has been the fragmentation of media. I was telling a friend recently about my own dramatic change in reading habits. Most of my reading comes not from the handful of papers and TV channels but from a collection of 300+ bloggers and websites, including a few from mainstream media. (In fact, my own blog completed three years recently.)

Jeff Jarvis captured the essence of what is happening: The audience is moving to lots of new places now that they have the choice, now that they have control. The single, shared national experience we keep sighing about existed for only a few decades as we lived with three networks and fewer and fewer newspapers. The natural state of media is fragmentation: consumers gain choice, media loses control, citizens gain control. Fragmentation is goodIt used to be, we waited for the news — when the paper was plopped on our doorstep, when the show came on the TV. Now the news waits for us — we get what we want when and where we want itMore news is good. Choice is good. Citizens controlling their media is good. Fragmentation is good.

Television too is changing Internet TV (or IP-TV) is becoming a reality. More importantly, technology is putting power in the hands of individuals. The cameraphone that I have can record an hour of video! There are websites emerging that allow me to post captured videos online for others to see. In a sense, I can also start my own TV channel serving a readership of friends and family.

Chris Anderson calls it the long tail. Whatever it is, what is very clear that the choices you will have are growing exponentially.

6. The Real World Around Us

One thing I never want you to forget is that you have been a dealt a great hand by the luck of the draw. But for every one person like you, there are many others who still have little or no access to the basics of life food, water, shelter, energy, education and healthcare. It is a world you cannot turn away from. Poverty continues to be a bane in our country. I hope we in India take positive steps to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty in the coming years.

In this real world around us, there are many challenges. Most of urban India today suffers from a few hours of power cuts every day. Water is getting increasingly scarce. Oil is becoming more expensive. As India develops, our energy needs are rising. We need alternative sources of energy. I dont know where they will come from. Maybe we will find more oil, maybe we will make solar power more cost-effective. Or perhaps, turn to wind or nuclear energy or biofuels. The energy conundrum will be the key to how rapidly we progress.

Tomorrow: 10 Big Ideas (continued)


TECH TALK Letter to a 2005 Baby+T

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