Moi, the provisional mini-meme

Well, I seem to have become a very modest viral presence on YouTube. The lovely people from UKParliament asked me for my thoughts on government and social media at the Tuttle Club a couple of weeks ago; the resulting clip has now been watched by nearly 1,000 people.

Watching it again, my main thought was that I really should given my hair a bit of a brush before they filmed me; I’d just taken off my cycle helmet, hence the slightly exploded look. But that would go against both the point of what they were doing – recording spontaneous, unrehearsed comments – and also one of the deeper properties of the web itself.

The web has substantially lowered barriers to the publication and dissemination of just about any kind of information. That means that it’s much easier to share content with a wide audience when it’s still in development.

The discussion begins earlier, and the content creator can be part of that discussion while whatever they’re developing is still being finalised – as, for example, Charles Leadbeater found out when he released a beta copy of his recent book ‘We Think’ online for pre-publication feedback.

Unlike the printed page, or the television or cinema screen, the internet is a provisional medium; it demands engagement rather than finish, discussion rather than monologue. And, in a small way, my clip is part of that.

You don’t see a polished, scripted, finalised version of me, with a makeup person hovering just off camera, waiting to touch up my perfect hair; you see the provisional, daily, real version of me, delivering a first draft, not a final draft, and above all hoping to start a conversation, rather than deliver a conclusion.


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