Ideas for Questions and Themes for Arianna Huffington

Today, as part of the tech/no Forum series at Bucknell, we are hosting Arianna Huffington.  I had imagine I would do some deep research on her background, her role as founder of HuffingtonPost, her role as CEO of the merged AOL-Huffington company  her ideas on the relationship between media, democracy, and profit, the death (?) of the newspaper, and so on.

Well, that didn’t happen.

Instead, I’ll have to generate some from what I have in my head (as opposed to research-based).

If you are coming to the afternoon session, feel free to read these, use these, modify these, and so on.

Business and Technology

* Is the content-for-eyeballs formula of the Internet dying?  Are advertisers not willing to pay?

* Are we at the end of an innovation burst as the Internet and mobile platforms are merging?  Is the heady period of “social media” and its rapid expansion done?

* Who are HP’s or AOL’s competitors?

Media and Profit

* Is it the responsibility of the media company to provide what “customers” want or what they need?  Does a media/news company create its own demand and then project that onto the audience.  “See, they want _____________ (tits, blood, murders, horse-race politics)?”

* How can a media firm that builds a strategy on cross-platform or channel “synergy,” like GE owning NBC, or HuffingtonPost and some of its properties (Endgadget?  Others?), ever keep profit motives from interfering with editorial independence?

Media and Society

* Why have the media been so often willing to carry water for the US government, from the war in Iraq, to the “nothing could be done” meme of the Great Recession, to ignoring the problems with drones, to throwing wikileaks and its founder (Assange) under the bus?

* Is there a sustainable revenue model for truly independent media?

* Is net neutrality something Huffington Post would support or oppose?

* Do we need legal guarantees of an open Internet to protect its role as information infrastructure?

* Should we be more worried about Google or any other concentration of economic power in the internet sphere?  Facebook?  Have the “basics” of economic policy and free markets needing pro-competition policies gone out the window?  Why?

Humor, Media, and Politics

* Is it fair for pundits or politicians to get annoyed with satirists and comedians for not being “fair”?  Or for not being “journalistic”?  I am thinking of how the old Crossfire boyz got huffy with Jon Stewart about his role.

* Is it ultimately helpful or pathetic that some of the most profound critiques of the political-media nexus come from the likes of Colbert, Stewart, and others?


* What are some trends she sees in either technology or its usage?

* If the ‘Net and social media have essentially lowered the costs of publishing for everyone, is this a new era ideas and unsettling of past patterns such as the printing press or the pamphlet era (preceding the US revolution)?  Or, are those tools being co-opted by interests of the status quo, especially large corporations, government, and their proxies?

* What most annoys you when people say “technology has changed everything”?

* Is the current millennial generation really so techno-focused?

* What misperceptions about digital technologies do you think persist in society or among business or political leaders?

* What are the next sectors or industries that will be unsettled by “creative destruction” of capitalism and technology?  Healthcare?  Higher education?  Local government?  Power grids and utilities?

60 second idea

* like I ask some of my students, do you have a sixty second idea to change the world?  Something concrete, feasible, and radical?

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Filed under Business, economics, Future of Technology, higher education, Information and Communication Technology, innovation, Media, Network Society, Politics, Power, Activism, Social Networks, sociology, technology, Technology history

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