Even more miscellaneous
In David Weinberger's latest issue of JOHO (his online journal), he's running a Bogus Contest: Misc. Elevator Pitch. In this contest, one must take David's elevator pitch for his new book, Everything is Miscellaneous, and attempt to make it "half as long and twice as compelling."
Although I've just ordered a copy of the book, I'd still like to win a signed copy, which is the contest's prize. So, here's my entry:
The rules have changed for how we organize the things around us. We once had a basic principle we could depend on: Each thing was in one place at a time. For example, imagine a photo placed in an album.
Now, we have digital photos that appear in many digital albums at the same time. So, we're inventing new principles for how we organize things. But, this is happening with all kinds of information and knowledge, and this change is transforming education, politics, science, business and more in the process.
(Compare with David's original version.)
Sticklers will note that my version is more like two-thirds as long and one and half times as compelling as David's version, but I consider it a respectable entry given that it's a bogus contest.
I've been reading a bunch of reviews for David's book, plus David's own ongoing writings on this topic on his blog and in JOHO. And, I'm trying to avoid jumping to any conclusions until I read the book myself.
One thing that I will say, that was clarified through writing the above pitch: because I worked as a librarian and had to constantly ignore the principle that each thing is in one place at a time, I've always felt like this "rule change" went into effect a long time ago. Or, put another way, to the degree that any thing has ever been "information," that basic principle has never been much of a principle.
But, I should read David's book before I write more about this. I want to get into David's analyses and arguments, and understand the ways he's seeing "now" as particularly significant compared with the past.
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