Thursday, June 7, 2007

Innovative Media 30 Years Ago

On one of the shows Chris Brogan hosted on he invited me to co-host with him. We talked about security, Jewish mysticism, and how I might use this new media for the things I teach and do. When he asked I was struck a bit by how much of this "new media" has been used, in the past 30 years, for spreading Jewish mysticism and the like. I was going to email Chris some thoughts on this, but I decided I would put this here and share it with everyone.

Right now there is a project going on called The Living Archive where they are working to digitize vast stores of magnetic media from 12 to 30 years ago. These are videos and films of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Now what ties this to the new media theme is the following. Although some of the film is from professional recordings, a large portion of the film is from individual people making their own recordings of something they thought was significant in their life.

Even more relevant to the new media is that talks that the Lubavitcher Rebbe gave were broadcast over an improvised phone network (I think it may have been a call in line) not unlike the live podcasts of today. There were also real time translators who translated from Yiddish and Hebrew to English. (In the videos you can see people listening on earpieces to the broadcast translations as they watch). For some events, like Menorah lightings they did at an international satellite linkup of live Chanukah Menorah lightings around the world. This was done in the 1980's.

So many of the features of the "new media" have long been used, but only recently have the tools been developed that enable anyone to implement global broadcasts at the push of a button.

I'm still working out what I can contribute to the video podcasting/new media trend, but I found reflecting on what has already been done an interesting exercise to determine what of what are we doing is truly new and what is the democratization provided by new technologies.

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