“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”
–Alfred North Whitehead

Sense-Making in a New Media Ecology: A Trialogue

Back at it with Adam Robbert and Jesse Estrin






4 responses to “Sense-Making in a New Media Ecology: A Trialogue”

  1. dmf Avatar

    the dark web reaches a tiny tiny number of people (as do all long-form outlets unlike the mega social media platforms) and there isn’t a deep thinker in the bunch, people aren’t just rejecting govt technocrats they are rejecting academics, clergy, judges, scientists, and on and on, none of which is new in America been going on for as long as we’ve been a country, check out the Scopes trial someday or look into the sales pitches/defenses of diet “supplements”, for some historical perspective see:

    1. AE Robbert Avatar
      AE Robbert

      I don’t care so much about the dark per se, but I think the numbers on these YouTube / podcast / social media-driven folks are bigger than you think (bigger at least, than say, the nightly news shows on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, etc.)

      1. dmf Avatar

        have any numbers of hits and how many of them are something other than gossip, take a deep dive on any issue? that said even a huge show on Fox (into the millions of viewers) only reaches a tiny part of even the US population what’s the numbers on twitter (gotta be over the total US pop) let alone facebook?

      2. AE Robbert Avatar
        AE Robbert

        I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying, but insofar as we’re talking about media and media use in general I think the comparison between new media and Fox news is pretty apt, the fact that neither reach everyone or most people notwithstanding. There’s some data on Twitter use here (68 million active US users; I’m not sure if this takes account of people with multiple profiles, though):


        As for some of the folks we were talking about, Rogan on YouTube had over 10 million views for his Musk podcast, 3.7 million for deGrasse Tyson, and 776,000 for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and as I understand things YouTube is not the primary subscription source for these podcasts (iTunes and Stitcher and the like are the main platforms, so these numbers don’t represent the bulk of listeners). To be sure, Rogan’s podcast is one of the biggest, but it’s not *the* biggest, and I’d bet even his juggernaut is dwarfed by the combined numbers of, say, the rest of the top 20 downloaded podcasts every month. It would be interesting to look at those combined numbers.

        My point is just that this is a huge shift in numbers/viewers. Is it seminar-level close-reading among experts? Definitely not. Is it a step up from what it’s replacing (i.e., TV and radio)? Absolutely.

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