Dan Gillmor is a guest blogger at BoingBoing.
I'm jazzed to be here! Thanks to Mark and the BB crew for the invite.
As a former journalist-for-pay who gives public talks about the changing nature of media, I'm often asked an excellent question about serendipity. Are we losing it?
The question comes up in the context of, well, context in the way journalism — especially in daily newspapers — is presented. Here's what I mean: Look at the front page of the New York Times. You're likely to see a story about a topic you didn't know you cared about until you saw it.
This is one of the genuine values of editors at institutions like the Times. They make sure we're in a position to learn about something they consider important or interesting, or simply worth the reading. The juxtaposition of the "didn't know we cared until we read it" story with the day's more obvious news is serendipity for those of us who want to be reasonably well informed and enjoy being surprised.
On the Web, where we often go looking for things we already know we want to read or watch of hear, serendipity is something we have to find for yourself. And for me, one of the places I've always found it is here on BoingBoing, where I find myself in amazed, amused and everything but apathetic as I scroll down the page each day to see what the crew has come up with now. This has made me a BB fan, verging on addict.
So to be invited to guest-blog here is a joy. My plan: Add some serendipity.
Naturally, I'll post about the future of media and information, including a new project I'm starting in the next few days, but I'll also be indulging my own tendency to head off on tangents. Sometimes they're relevant to my work, often not. I'll do my best, at any rate, to make sure they aren't boring.
UPDATE: As I'll have to do periodically here, a disclosure: I own a small amount of New York Times Co. stock, which is worth way, way, way less than what I paid for it.