Monday, February 18, 2002

Song For A Small Guy

As for 6-man, 1-woman bobsled event on blogocracy, David "JOHO" Weinberger, Tom Matrullo, AKMA, Steve Himmer, Mike Golby, Jeneane Sessums and Doc continue to amaze and delight us. (I told Tom Matrullo it was just too Olympic in scale for me to jump in — I can't even get out of the starting gate!) But let me point to a quote I've always liked and keep sitting on my desk.

Jorma Ollila, the head of Nokia put it well in a piece in Wired in Sept. 1999. The interviewer asked " ... Ollila how he felt about playing an instrumental role in transforming the ways we communicate. "What it means is that every individual, every culture, every nationality has an opportunity to make a mark as part of a team, because there is a medium through which to work," he said.

He paused for a moment, and added, "This is a song for a small guy. Do you know what I mean? The network, and the new economy, give opportunities for a small guy to sing his song and be heard. You might say that there are no borders now, and that we [Finland] would disappear as a country, but I think this has given us more identity. The access to information has made you aware of what is going on in this corner of the world, of the uniqueness here. That shines through much brighter than it ever did. Now we are there. We are part of the network."

Ollila hits on something really important -- again a big J Journalism dirty little secret -- the pretense of objectivity is grounded in an elite "from-less-ness." It's dehumanizing. I want to know WHERE you're from. On the network, you're in the same room with me, but what I love best about you, is that you could be half-way around the world.

Another reason we like to ask the 800-number customer service girl where she's located, how's the weather there, it's the last shred of humanity she's got.