The Digital Watchtower

Luís Ángel Fernández Hermana - @luisangelfh
5 December, 2016
Editorial: 53
Fecha de publicación original: 7 enero, 1997

Date of publication: 7/1/1997. Editorial 53.

Not knowing is like not seeing

This issue of marks the first year of its existence. The equivalent in a cat’s life is about 10 years, and in cyberspace, at least 20. Bits have the unusual characteristic of making us grow old at extraordinary speed while at the same time infusing us with the elixir of youth, because, keep up with the times or die is the rule that applies in all things digital. So, as I don’t want to drift aimlessly in this constantly changing and evolving ocean, I am going to give it| a shake-up from top to bottom, from the front page to the creation and distribution of the inside spaces.

Many attentive readers have pointed out quite correctly, and with varying degrees of sarcasm, that at the heart of there lies a large degree of provocation. This was at the same time as assumptions such as the following held almost undisputed sway: nobody wastes time reading anymore or, the only thing that sells is audiovisual aesthetics or, people only want news in the form of a sugar-coated pill or, young people are only interested in fragmented information or whatever looks like a video clip, or the Internet is successful because it’s all visual and the text is merely a function of the images, etc., etc., it was at the very same time, I repeat, that made its appearance: a page of text with not an image in sight. Great lumps of dense print which you had to open your mouth wide to swallow followed by a few antacids to make them a little more digestible. And then the “miracle” happened.

Many of the readers were, of course, people who retained a taste for reading, political discourse and debating ideas. But then, more and more, the e-mails I began to receive came from young people who were thoroughly dissatisfied with the content of the traditional media and who had a voracious appetite for EVERYTHING that life has to offer but which a rigid (and crumbling) communications model prevented them from having access to. And, as one would expect, along with that fortunately excessive appetite, and playing a privileged role, went curiosity and the need to discover points of reference to help to explain this complex and diverse world we have had the fortune (good or bad) to live in. An endeavour as modest and limited as, despite the fact that it was going against the flow and had no modern promotional backing, fulfilled, in its own way, those needs (and perhaps others I am not aware of) over a surprisingly widespread geographical area. I get e-mail from places as physically, culturally and spiritually distinct from one another as Peru, India, New Zealand, Sweden or Catalonia and the content is, generally, the same: “I have quite frankly been seduced by your articles in….” (this one, received yesterday, from Mibelis Acevedo Donís, Venezuela).

I am not going to say the usual “we have come to the end of the first leg”, because this isn’t the Tour de France nor does anyone know exactly where stages begin and end on this intangible map woven by the constant reorganisation of zeros and ones. But the time has come to fulfil some of the propositions which have arisen from this webzine. In the first place, and above all, enhancing the task of interpreting what is going on in the Net, in the Information Society, beyond the daily contingencies or the overwhelming flood of information and events which threaten to inundate us at any minute. In other words, to produce the kind of quality journalism which will form part of the compass that will guide internauts as they navigate through the Net., I hope, will become one of those reference points that people visit looking for an interpretation and analysis of digital life and not just for its informative aspects.

To fulfil these objectives, however modestly, it is necessary to increase the number of voices participating and diversify opinions and points of view. The Net can be viewed from many different angles and positions. This will be one of the main tasks in this “new era” of the gradual construction of a populated watchtower from which to obtain a plural and advantageous view of the world that is coming and the positions each one of us can take up to participate in it.

The new magazine will contain this editorial, but, it will also include a number of sections, all of them thirsty for contributions and contributors. I look forward to your collaboration in this phase of and hope that between us we’ll be capable of making out what the Information Society will be like, both from the point of view of its undeniable advantages and opportunities, as well as its more menacing side for the human species in this remote corner of the solar system.

Translation: BridgetKing.