« Why Social Software Makes for Poor Recommendations | Main | Transistors don't have sex on the roof »

February 03, 2005

Comments

David Palmer

Chris, would you define what you mean by worldview and by sensibility? Intuitively it feels as though there's quite abit of overlap between the two, but you seem to be differentiating between them.

Chris Anderson

David: great suggestion. I've edited the post to do just that. I hope you find the distinctions clearer now.

Slippery Pete

I disagree, respectfully. I think I detect a variation of the dreaded blog triumphalism - tail triumphalism. Just because the tail has found its voice in online journalism doesn't mean the fat end of the spectrum has disappeared, or will. Opening up and serving new niche markets doesn't deplete demand for mass markets. It very well may increase demand for them. I would not want to live in a world without any journals that strive for objectivity. Perhaps that's just me.

umair

Is the LT just a way to describe the simple process of commoditization? Not meant to be facetious - that's the implication I got from this post.

I hope not - I think it's the inverse: industries restructured to be able to support radically altered cost + revenue flows *while* keeping commoditization at bay.

Long way of saying the books in Amazon's LT aren't (shouldn't be) commodities - they're the opposite: they're valued more highly by the consumers in the LT than average books are.

Anyways, more discussion at over at my place...

Chris Anderson

Umair: No, the Long Tail is not about commodification. Indeed, it's about the opposite: the explosion of variety that comes when the lowest-common-denominator effect of bottlenecked distribution channels begins to fade. But another effect of the expansion of those distribution channels is some things that were previously thought exclusive *do* become commodities. Information is one of them, and that's the basis for this post. It's not part of the Long Tail phenomena per se, but it arises from the same underlying trends of abundance.

Jay Rosen

Chris: I think you are dead on about "sensibility" and "worldview" becoming the value added, now that information is so abundant. Also that "opinion" is a terrible word for describing all this.

Objectivity tries to get over by telling us what the journalist is not-- not for this side, not for that, neither a red nor a blue state outlook. This is a kind of identity, but it's a negative one(as with the term un-biased news.) The examples you gave: Fox, Economist, Wired all have something they affirm: American triumphalism, free markets, change-is-good.

stanek

The End of Objectivity? It's relevant to the discussion here that the idea that a newspaper (or other journalistic source) should be objective is a somewhat recent phenomenon, corresponding tightly to an earlier decline in newspapers. For most of the 19th and early 20th centuries, most american cities of any size had a half dozen or more papers, and very few of them purported to be objective in any way. They competed on the basis of their distinct sensibilities, not by trying to deny them. (Even two competing papers--not a morning and afternoon edition with different names--will have distinct sensibilities well know to paper-reading locals even today.)
It wasn't until papers were faced with appealing to the broadest base possible for survival did the notion of "objectivity" really take hold. Papers, like the NY Times, which were able to establish themselves as "paper(s) of record" survived. Those that remained papers of sensibility (partisanship)--like NY's dozen other historical dailies--disappeared. You have to ask, if these other papers weren't papers of record, what were they?
This was the long tail in reverse: shrinking marketplaces made niche sales unprofitable.

Kevin Kelly

Wired was onto this shift when it may have been too embryonic. Jon Katz's cover Sept 95 (3.09) story on OJ Simpson's trial was called "Guilty" because he was bloging before blogs. His premise was the all journalists he spoke to believed OJ was guilty but none would say that "in print." I wish we could have edited the piece better but it was about the end of objectivity in journalism, the failed cult of objectivity he called it.

"The failed cult of objectivity

To be objective is to be uninfluenced by emotion or prejudice. On high school newspapers, in university journalism schools, among young reporters tackling their first beats, objectivity is taught as the professional standard - along with accuracy - to which journalists aspire. Most working journalists, especially older ones, accept it as bedrock: they are detached and impartial, setting aside any personal, political, or emotional beliefs.

Many people, inside and outside journalism, believe that objectivity is an unattainable goal. "Nevertheless, we can still distinguish personal attitudes, religious dogmas, and the like from facts and justified beliefs," write Georgetown professors Stephen Klaidman and Tom L. Beauchamp in The Virtuous Journalist. "The essence of some professional commitments is engagement, but in contrast to adherents of the so-called new journalism, we believe ... that journalists are obligated to maintain a professional distance..........."

Garth Wallace

I think the "death of objectivity" is a terrible thing. The death of objectivity is the devaluation of fact. You can already see the initial effects in contemporary American politics, where the sides of the "debate" aren't even working from the same set of axioms: without common ground, there can be no agreement, and decisions are made more and more based on in-group membership than based on their actual merits.

Brock

Only original data is objective. Any attempt to describe or report it to an indirect observer ceases to be objective. It's like the Heisenberg Un-objectivey Principle.

The problem is that most people don't have the training to interpret original data intelligently. We rely on experts to digest, synthesize, and report. Ergo, objectivity cannot be obtained. For "Worldview & Sensibility" we used to have few choices in America. Now we have many.

Meng Weng Wong

So there is an argument that the long tail means society will descend into a chaos of cultural relativism, of subjectivity and solipsism. We will see a proliferation of sects, each of which subscribes to a worldview different from every other. For example, creationism versus evolution, writ large: we'll have black creationist lesbians against abortion versus Asian Darwinist transsexuals for gun control. And it won't be "against" in the sense of dialectical debate --- it'll just be "against" in the sense of "denying the validity of", which is insidious.

That argument assumes subjectivity arises from choice: given two worldviews, people will somehow glom on to one and remain wilfully ignorant of the other. Repeat ten times and we have a thousand different worlds. We humanist technocrats worry for these people because the long tail makes this possible.

Then I thought, maybe we've got it wrong. Maybe this sort of dangerous subjectivity is actually founded on the belief that everybody else thinks as you do: it is a lack of exposure to different ideas. What we're afraid of is really just a mass provincialism, where everyone wears blinkers.

But nobody wants to wear blinkers. It goes against human nature. The university students at Tiananmen showed that. The Muslim women's movement shows that. The very fact that we find creationists and neoconservative mullahs weird in the related ways shows that they're the exception that proves the rule. And the rule is the nonzero trend towards better education in the service of liberty. (Nonzero, Jared Diamond.)

The long tail is the exact antithesis of blinkeredness. With the long tail it becomes impossible for you to ignore alternative worldviews: it is plain as day that other people don't think as you do. It is evident that other people on Amazon don't buy the same books that I do: that fact hits me in the face every time I choose not to buy what Amazon recommends. It reminds me that there are people who think very near me, but still think differently. And that knowledge invites an exploration of other ideas. Sampling becomes natural. If you buy your magazines at a newsstand you can't help touching, even if you're only physically moving aside, other magazines that contain different ideas than the ones you're after. The larger the newsstand, the more magazines you have to browse past. Of course if this were Soviet-era Russia the newsstand would only have two magazines and they both say the same thing. But anywhere else, more choice means more diversity, diversity that's in your face. And, of course, the Long Tail is the largest newsstand in the world.

So I don't think we need to worry. The wisdom of crowds (Surowiecki) will emerge. On balance, the Long Tail promotes education and diversity more than narrowmindedness.

james wu

I'm new to this blog thing.
but the DPRK site you comment on in BoingBoing is a hoax.

my blog is http://jameswu.us/
details are presented under DPRK Hoax. and are independently verifiable.

aeku4ipgs

[url][/url] [url=]the black eyed peas[/url] <a href=>the black eyed peas</a> [url][/url] [url=]paradise poker online poker signup bonus code[/url] <a href=>paradise poker online poker signup bonus code</a> [url][/url] [url=]how to win and black and jack[/url] <a href=>how to win and black and jack</a> [url][/url] [url=]online strip poker 2[/url] <a href=>online strip poker 2</a> [url][/url] [url=]play monopoly slots online[/url] <a href=>play monopoly slots online</a> [url][/url] [url=]online live poker training help[/url] <a href=>online live poker training help</a> [url][/url] [url=]tournament edition poker chips[/url] <a href=>tournament edition poker chips</a> [url][/url] [url=]neat crap[/url] <a href=>neat crap</a> [url][/url] [url=]play cherry master free[/url] <a href=>play cherry master free</a> [url][/url] [url=]slots[/url] <a href=>slots</a>

u4mo74uh

[url][/url] [url=]gay wrestling bondage[/url] <a href=>gay wrestling bondage</a> [url][/url] [url=]gay teen pissing[/url] <a href=>gay teen pissing</a> [url][/url] [url=]young gay handjob video[/url] <a href=>young gay handjob video</a> [url][/url] [url=]free gay father son sex[/url] <a href=>free gay father son sex</a> [url][/url] [url=]teenage boy pissing gay[/url] <a href=>teenage boy pissing gay</a> [url][/url] [url=]young sex gay[/url] <a href=>young sex gay</a> [url][/url] [url=]gay movies matures[/url] <a href=>gay movies matures</a> [url][/url] [url=]sexy dad and son gay sex[/url] <a href=>sexy dad and son gay sex</a> [url][/url] [url=]forced gay fetish gallery[/url] <a href=>forced gay fetish gallery</a> [url][/url] [url=]free gay men sexincest pics[/url] <a href=>free gay men sexincest pics</a>

u4mo74uh

[url][/url] [url=]gay wrestling bondage[/url] <a href=>gay wrestling bondage</a> [url][/url] [url=]gay teen pissing[/url] <a href=>gay teen pissing</a> [url][/url] [url=]young gay handjob video[/url] <a href=>young gay handjob video</a> [url][/url] [url=]free gay father son sex[/url] <a href=>free gay father son sex</a> [url][/url] [url=]teenage boy pissing gay[/url] <a href=>teenage boy pissing gay</a> [url][/url] [url=]young sex gay[/url] <a href=>young sex gay</a> [url][/url] [url=]gay movies matures[/url] <a href=>gay movies matures</a> [url][/url] [url=]sexy dad and son gay sex[/url] <a href=>sexy dad and son gay sex</a> [url][/url] [url=]forced gay fetish gallery[/url] <a href=>forced gay fetish gallery</a> [url][/url] [url=]free gay men sexincest pics[/url] <a href=>free gay men sexincest pics</a>

u4mo74uh

[url][/url] [url=]gay wrestling bondage[/url] <a href=>gay wrestling bondage</a> [url][/url] [url=]gay teen pissing[/url] <a href=>gay teen pissing</a> [url][/url] [url=]young gay handjob video[/url] <a href=>young gay handjob video</a> [url][/url] [url=]free gay father son sex[/url] <a href=>free gay father son sex</a> [url][/url] [url=]teenage boy pissing gay[/url] <a href=>teenage boy pissing gay</a> [url][/url] [url=]young sex gay[/url] <a href=>young sex gay</a> [url][/url] [url=]gay movies matures[/url] <a href=>gay movies matures</a> [url][/url] [url=]sexy dad and son gay sex[/url] <a href=>sexy dad and son gay sex</a> [url][/url] [url=]forced gay fetish gallery[/url] <a href=>forced gay fetish gallery</a> [url][/url] [url=]free gay men sexincest pics[/url] <a href=>free gay men sexincest pics</a>

gifts for her

I am agree with this post.Very interesting discussing on End of Objectivity.I have really enjoyed to browse it.It is really great post.I have been harping for the past few years about the disintegration of the "Myth of Objectivity" in journalism...

The comments to this entry are closed.

Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!