June 29, 2006

Wired (or not)

Back in the day, I used to read Wired quite a lot, but ultimately I got a bit tired of their rampant, uncritical technophilia. It's probably better now, but I've sorta lost interest and haven't read much in the mag in quite a while. I do pay some attention to the Wired Technology News feed, which I do like.

Which brings me to noted Science Fiction writer Paul Di Filipo's very enlightening essay about writing a feature for Wired in the late 1990s. His frustration at their style of editorial meddling boils down to these points:

  • All references to "the little people" were eliminated
  • Ambiguity was minimized
  • Facts were cloaked in "hipness"
  • The past was dismissed as unimportant
  • Quotidian matters were de-emphasized
  • Drama was injected into basically undramatic situations

Libraries are often on the border between hip and unhip, moving forward and looking back and some of the frustrations that Di Filippo faced with the resolutely forward-looking Wired reflect some of the philosophical and practical challenges we have serving a diverse patron base in a dynamically changing technological environment.via BoingBoing.

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