Setting aside for a moment the ongoing discussion among media scholars about the benefits of the word “new” (as in “new media”), I”m intrigued by this discussion on Snarkmarket about the direction of media production in the future.

By Tim Carmody’s calculations, it really started here with a post by Robin Sloan.  But Tim updates and extends it with links to another SM post he did and a kind of curating them both together that moves the whole discussion forward some.

I find this interesting in several ways.  First, I tend to agree with them that media forms “in the future” are likely to have these general characteristics (or at least to be better able to capitalize on them in relation to those who consume them): live-ness, generativity, seriality.  Digital networked media currently provide a wide-ranging, flexible, and often free or very cheap foundation for mounting such “works” to use Tim’s term, and as they both reasonably point out examples like TED Talks show how well this can be done (and how widely they can be distributed).

Second, I find their approach on the site to sustaining, augmenting, and invigorating their own discussion of these ideas through their blog to be an excellent example of the future of understanding that mirrors their own argument about the future of media.  In the SM model, a handful of thinkers (and producers) share a digital publishing space, and as each participant thinks publicly there about this or that concept or idea, they generate a space, in nearly real-time, in which both the original thinker, his co-creators, and the widening collective of readers can allow that idea to percolate.  Comments rapidly iterate and innovate on the original idea in a quick burst immediately following its release, and then that whole discussion is automatically archived, lying semi-dormant until someone else decides to pick it up again, rehash its core insights, and extend it into a deeper formulation.

This is surely the most robust form today of what so many writers and thinkers have called The Great Conversation, except here all previous comments in that conversation are available for new participants to peruse, reflect upon, and extend.

I for one am looking forward to the new breadth and depth of understanding such models and practices of thinking will surely facilitate.