Free, As In Look Over Here: Media Literacy 102

I just finished perusing "Seth Godin's new ebook" entitled What Matters Now. On the surface, it's an interesting read full of humor, wit, emotion, and timely advice; written by seventy-five of the most influential thinkers of our time/type. Big thinkers? YES!

Still, upon viewing the book, I'm struck by how much it feels like that stack of advertisements that comes with every edition of the Sunday paper.

Honestly, it's not that the content is bad, quite the contrary. Rather, it's that the content therein is so amazingly good that it's a shame it's been presented in such a way that each plug is so blatantly obvious. It's also as if the message they're really trying to send is that what really matters now is exposure, marketing, and my blog can beat up your blog.

First there was Web 2.0 - and now, well, there's free. Sure it's exciting; it's even liberating. But this example alone illustrates yet one more tragedy of the commons, unintentionally cloaked as a clarion reminder that nothing in life truly is free.

What Matters Now (A Description of Modern Economics):

  • Cost of production: time, creativity, and the networking skills required for assembly.
  • Cost of consumption: a population of readers duped into thinking the production is anything more than it really is: a professionally tailored advertisement for those whose work is featured therein.
Now, where did I put that Sunday paper?


Image sources: What Matters Now and Flickr user pappalicious.

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