Vicki Davis is talking about how the AP’s backlash against bloggers might portend a similar clash between blogging teachers and more “established” voices in the Ed Tech world. I’m not sure it’s going to be so. Is it a shift away from control of the discourse by powerful institutions or is it an expansion of the discourse to include more, smaller members of the ed tech community? Personally, I don’t think the powerful corporations, state and local school hierarchies, and “cult of personality” pundits are going anywhere any time soon. But I do think that blogging will put more of them into direct contact with the people “in the trenches” and give those people more of a say. It’s not a bigger slice of the pie for the small guys – it’s a bigger pie.
I’m reading The Long Tail right now and one important point that he makes is that the niche items in the long tail don’t displace the “hits” at the head. Hits – massive ideas/products coming from powerful people/organizations – are not necessarily going anywhere. It’s easy to miss this point in the book but it’s an important. Wal-mart will still be the #1 music retailer in America with its puny selection of 4500 CD’s in each store; at the same time, Amazon and iTunes will continue to make money hand over fist selling millions of MP3 files that that only get a handful of downloads per track. In the same way, I think we will always have textbook companies, state mandates, and “establishment” ed tech pundits running around conferences. But they will be sharing the stage with a lot of “nobodies.” The smartest among them will welcome it and profit from building those connections.