Does Canada have a New Media Strategy? Or are we Twittering our Thumbs in the Dark?
Reilly recently offered a great post providing some background into the role Twitter has played in Iran recent post-election upheaval. I, myself, have been spending a lot of time reading twitter updates containing the #iranelection hash tag and, truly, the service is offering information at a breakneck pace. Wait two minutes before refreshing? You’re likely going to be treated to a thousand new twittered and re-twittered updates containing data, links, opinions, and information. Make no mistake: there is substantial disinformation in the mix; but if you’re savvy, you can find some reliable sources. Perhaps one of the most reliable sources that many western journalists have been relying on is an Iranian known only as persiankiwi . Sadly, in recent days PW has gone silent, with his/her final twittered lines about having Internet connection going down, and having to “move location” quickly.
Of course, this post was not supposed to be about Iran; but about the transformative potential of new media and other emerging technologies. And with stories like persiankiwi’s, that potential rings true not just for economic competitiveness — as we often talk about in Canada — but also, as in Iran, advancing social goals and objectives, promoting information dissemination and political speech, and revolutionizing human organization.
Yet, where is Canada on New Media? I hear nothing from the Conservative Government about New Media, or a digital infrastructure strategy; other than an deeply recording-industry-friendly copyright law reform proposal. And nothing from the Liberals or NDP on this point either. Copyright, to repeat once again, is not the end all for a proper new media or digital strategy. It’s not even a quarter or eighth of the challenge.
Michael Geist is one of the credible voices — known beyond our borders — on this point. Read his prescription for a Canadian New Media strategy which, in his view, is “long overdue”.