Whew. I have just finished the second week of my Medill MOOC, Understanding Media by Understanding Google. I have committed to doing this ALL online, so in addition to the intellectual challenge of the various viewpoints of the SIX authors (plus Prof. Youngman) we are reading, I have to use extra brain cells remembering where I read something, highlighting the important stuff, etc., etc. I feel as though my brain is being rewired as I go, which is both exhausting and exhilarating.
Observations for this week: Google has pervaded online American life much more thoroughly than I knew before I began this course, and it makes me more than a little uneasy. I wish I still worked at The Commercial Appeal, because the stuff my friends and I used to daydream about — outsourcing ad sales to Google, concentrating on great local coverage in an online format that was easy to navigate, breaking down silos between reporters and departments — really will be the next generation of journalism. This is most surprising to me, that I feel this optimistic about the news business. I have come to believe that most news-on-paper outlets will go away, but good reporting and journalism doesn’t have to be printed on paper to gain an audience. The question is: How can journalists make a living working only online, for a company that doesn’t understand how the world has changed?
Finally, I’ve learned some cool Google tricks. Check out HandWrite (still in beta testing), and get your local teenager to show you all of the highlighting and annotating features that Kindle now serves up. Oh, and have you tried Google Voice? Very cool. Almost makes me stop dreaming of Siri.