CB3 went Corpus Christi last night, where Johnny Ryan, once again, gave an erudite and entertaining lecture on the development of the internet and its contribution to the spreading of ideologies.

The facts that the Internet is a public utility, despite its military birth, and that the user is rapidly becoming king, point to a growing truism that the traditional, post-Gutenberg era of largely one-way communication is coming to an end.  As Johnny pointed out:

Old Media – success measured in numbers viewers/listeners.

New Media – numbers of comments/ratings now matter.

In other words, it’s the conversation or discussion that matters.  Anecdotally, people recall 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see and 70% of what they discuss (this is generally recognised but would love to know where it came from), so the power of discussion is potent for communicating ideas.

Yet, during a discussion within a group of people in a debate or in the pub, what does one need to ensure one’s position and argument gains traction?  Credibility, knowledge, articulation, dexterity, flexibility of approach, the ability to listen and belief (or appeareance of) in that position or argument.  These are some of the basics of social interaction – and they apply equally on the web.

Gutenberg - Before him we discussed things

Gutenberg - Before him we discussed things

As cutting edge as new media maybe, it is bringing information and communication full circle, back to the pre-Gutenberg days.  Pushing information; ‘spray and pray’; one-way comms – these are limited in Web 2.0.  Good, old-fashioned discussion is the way ahead, and those who have the attributes to prevail in discussion will succeed in educating, messaging, communicating.  Those planning strategic communication campaigns, even in the remotest parts of the world (you would be surprised at how many 3G mobile phones there are in Afghanistan) must take this into account.