There’s this thing called a Confucian shift. It’s when a new technology or idea arrives and changes life and society in a way that could never have been predicted. The Internet is the greatest and most recent Confucian shift. Imagine trying to explain it to someone from the 1800s. It would be like trying to describe a colour – impossible to do, without referencing itself. People didn’t really see the Internet coming until it was basically already here.
While a lot of the Internet’s successes have been natural evolutions of already existing ideas and technologies – with print publications becoming websites and blogs, television becoming YouTube and the like, radio becoming podcasts – this is not all that the Internet’s good for. Its greatest extension over all past similar technologies is immediacy. The Internet takes the wait time out of information, and with the increasing ubiquitousness of wifi and smart phones, we’re soon going to have more access to more information more of the time. This will not make us smarter. It will just make cheating at pub quizzes easier.
With the prospect of voluntary student membership hanging over both VUWSA and Salient, we have been thinking a lot about what the future of this publication will be. Not just under more restricted financial guidelines but in a world where the print media is becoming more and more obsolete. We will be suprised if Salient still exists in a print form in fifteen years’ time, but what form it will take is hard to make out – will it just be a website? An app? An epub file pushed across wifi to your ebook reader? We don’t know.
This issue is our way of gauging how Salient might be received if it was an online-only publication. To find all this week’s content just click the ‘Online Issue 2011′ tag at the bottom of the page and it should all spring up. When we mentioned this on our Facebook page last week, the majority of respondents expressed reluctance to make the effort to go to the website: apparently – damningly – Salient‘s chief appeal is its convenience.
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But hear us out. As students we exist very distinctly in a world of tomorrows. Today, at university, we are gearing our minds up for tomorrow or next year or next whenever, so it behooves us more than anyone else to think about what form our media is going to be in the future. What is the internet going to change and how are we going to change with it?
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Uther & Elle