Monday, March 26, 2007

Thinking Aloud: "MICA forms Advisory Council to examine impact of new media"

I've so many blog posts still outstanding (recent ones include the Nexus 2007 conference last Saturday; a Yesterday.SG Sunday brunch meetup and an upcoming book launch by one of the friends of Yesterday, Dr. Tan Wee Kiat). So little time (story of every blogger's life, perhaps).

But somehow I'm compelled to blog this -- it was published at the CNA website just a few hours ago:
"MICA forms Advisory Council to examine impact of new media"
According to the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA), the council will also recommend to the government how these issues should be managed while keeping pace with the development of the sector in Singapore.
Read the full article here.

Perhaps I'm compelled to write about this because I suspect the news will generate lots of doubts and snide comments in the Singapore Blogosphere. I mean, to have words like "legal", "regulatory", "implications", "government", and "manage" appearing consecutively in the paragraphs -- it's a sure-fire way to get some SG bloggers all riled up with conspiracy-theories/ "big brother wants to clamp us down" posts, heh. : )

Even I can't help myself. For instance, "why now?" Is there some implied intent? Because things are getting "serious" enough to warrant a closer look at developments in the "Interactive and Digital Media (IDM) sector"? Is regulation the main intented intended outcome here?

If IDM, i.e. "New Media", is a "new emerging industry that has been identified as a promising growth industry for Singapore", how come there's no mention of words like "encourage" and "promote" or "increase public awareness and adoption"?

That being said, I certainly understand the need to examine the social and legal implications from developments in IDM (btw, I prefer the term "Social Media"). My reading is that the powers-that-be are taking a considered and thoughtful approach towards understand what "New Media" is about, and its implications.

We bloggers sometimes forget that those who aren't into blogging are simply not clued in to the culture and mindset. So when they say they want to "examine", I say we SG Bloggers should welcome them with open arms, I mean, blogs.

Invite them to blog. Or never mind blog. Invite them to leave comments. Offer to do demos for them.

I'm not worried about any government clamp-down on the Blogosphere. To do so would be a step backwards for Singapore. Besides, such a clamp down would have happened a long time ago. No need to set up an Advisory Council just to put up a charade. The government knows the voters aren't naive.

So the last thing SG Bloggers should do -- or need to do -- is to get all hot and bothered about it. I hope no one starts a tirade. That would reinforce negative perceptions about the blogging community.

Interestingly, I came across this word, "spectrophobia", meaning "Fear of Ghosts". Medicine.Net has a longer definition:
An abnormal and persistent fear of ghosts. Sufferers of this fear experience undue anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational.

My late grandmother didn't persuade me (when I was a child) that ghosts were non-existent. What she advised was if we've nothing to hide and we've done no wrong, then there's nothing to fear, be it ghosts or otherwise.

So let's not be 'Spectrophobic' each time the government says there want to look into New Media.

Welcome them. Show them how it's really done in the Blogosphere. Try in our own ways to share insights to all the socialisation and community-bonding that happens around scattered but tightly-knit groups. Maybe that will give non-bloggers a clue why bloggers persist in doing what we do.

1 comment:

  1. Nicely put Ivan. This is what I try to do whenever I meet people from the agencies/schools/govt etc. I think we should collectively organize a "do not fear social web" conference for the general public.


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