Thursday, December 20, 2007


The EPIC Flash videos by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson that have been amazingly prescient in a lot of their near-term predictions of media's future apparently now have an additional home at a UK site called "Making it Happen."

EPIC 2014 came out in November 2004, and EPIC 2015 updated that two months later. The presentation by the fictional "Museum of Media History" purports to look back at what happened to media in the early 21st century as Google and Amazon became giants that ruled the Earth and the New York Times slipped into oblivion.

Sloan and Thompson eventually put the videos under a Creative Commons attribution-share alike-noncommercial license, which has hastened their spread.

The nice thing about the UK site is that both 2014 and 2015 are together and you can choose full-screen or smaller screen format.

It's always useful to return to these occasionally to see how they hold up.

In a 2005 story by Masha Geller, Sloan says he doesn't really expect much of what the EPIC series predicts to happen, such as the combination of Google and Amazon, but sees it as a fable with the various companies serving as stand-ins for sectors of the media.

Sloan and Thompson have moved on, but still blog at Snarkmarket.

What amazes me is how people continue to "discover" the Epic series. The latest is the Society of Professional Journalists' e-newsletter which breathlessly declares: The Museum of Media History presents an interesting (OK, you might think it's downright frightening) view of the "mediascape" of 2015. Watch the video, and share your thoughts about it on SPJ's Technolo-J blog.

These are journalists. Shouldn't they have, like, known about this three years ago and been discussing it then? Sadly, too many are just now discovering what Sloan said in that 2005 Geller interview:

“News organizations have had a lot of different monopolies going for them, all of which are being threatened. ... They’re under attack from everything from Monster to Google. It hasn’t been so clear to them that the monopoly on news itself or people learning about the world is under threat. People who give a lot of credence to blogs know that there is a place for professional journalists. We just wanted to point out that there is a risk that the center of gravity of where people get their news could move."

(As added evidence that SPJ still struggles with the idea behind this stuff, that Technolo-J Blog does not allow "anonymous" comments -- you have to create a log in, etc. Of course, what the software being used does allow is a commenting form that requires a person's e-mail and name input without the necessity of a logon -- a very common moderation tool these days. I'm a longtime member of SPJ and remain a big supporter, but when it comes to new media, I'm beginning to think it stands for Slow to Pick up the changes in Journalism. (At my urging, another of the SPJ blogs, the J-Education Forum, did open its commenting function. I commend you to check out the blog, being run by my colleague Ernie Wiggins. "ELW" consistently finds some good stuff to discuss.)



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