Most attribute this quote to George Santayana:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The quote has been used in far more important issues than this piece – but it is important none the less.
I remember well when the Web first launched. I rember the thrill of the jump from Gopher to the Web and the magical day the world was introduced to Mosiac.
If you know nothing about these days, look it up in.
Web page production was exciting. The ability to produce your own content that anyone anywhere in the world could consume was a thrill like no other.
We painstakingly took days to put together just a single page.
Then the tools started coming in. At the beginning they were pretty bad. But they got better. Soon we found that computers were better at writing HTML than we were. Quickly we realized that our job was content creation, not Hypertext Markup.
Some stood fast to the art of fine tuning and fine crafting every page. They said it was blasphemy to have a computer create that stuff.
Many of them are still unemployed – or at least not employed as an HTML “purist.”
But the tools arrived that let people create content for other people while making the computers do the ugly work that is done best by computer.
In the mean time, the read/write Web has millions of Blogs created by people with something to say who didn’t even know there was such a thing as HTML.
The page this article is printed on looks far better than anything that came out of our office in the 90s and, gosh darn it, I didn’t spend a minute creating the page. I typed the content into WordPress and, BAM, you are reading it now.
WordPress also wrote the XML for the 6 out of 7 of you (yes, I check my logs) who are reading this anywhere other than my pretty little Website.
We are entering quickly into a time where Podcast product (video and audio) will become a lot easier. We’ll create the content and the machines will clean it up, level it out, put it together, and write the code that will let Mom’s iPod or Dad’s Zune pick it up.
We’ll just need to focus on the content.
I’ll get comments here about how there’s no soul in this. I’ll get ugly vibes from the “professional Podcast producers” who like getting paid to do in 8 hours what a free software application does in 5 minutes.
But I tell the truth.
We can look at this truth in two ways:
We can complain and whine and moan that the art is gone – that the “purity” of the creation process has been defiled.
We can create amazing content and change the face of media (and communication – business and personal).
The focus in Podcast production must be on the content. Those who focus on the content will be thrilled when the tools for this kind of content make distribution and assembly as easy as writing this Web page.
And the tools are coming very quickly.