I was reading a post by Dave Snowden that really got me thinking.
In his post, From oratory to the soundbite, he discusses the changes in how our politicians engage with us. Noting the change from the days of Lloyd George, who would speak for an hour without notes and engage with hecklers in the audience, to that of the manicured and controlled soundbites of modern politicians.
It also got me thinking how we have become conditioned to manicured and carefully prepared speeches and presentations in many areas of our lives nowadays. And this shift is all about risk control.
This shift to carefully manufactured communications can likely be attributed to the way you can sound easily sound stupid or ill-informed if speaking off the cuff (cf. Barnaby Joyce). Then that comment can be amplified endlessly (and often mercilessly) via social media.
In the days of Lloyd George his engaging speeches were not recorded for posterity. They were ephemeral. Nobody pored over the transcript and excerpted poor phrasing to regurgitate for weeks afterwards in media releases and media interviews.
Our ability to document every happening is changing how free we are to express ideas and opinions. No longer can we have an amusing interplay with a heckler at a speech that is heard by only those present. That interplay can now be taken out of context and used as a weapon against you by people of ill-will.
This is one of the reasons I believe we are seeing the growth of the politics of NO. In the past oppositions and governments could make bipartisan stands and it was hardly known by the populace. But now a new transparency means that it is easier and simpler for oppositions to stand against things than to work together for the common good on issues.
Perhaps once people understand how transparent things are becoming we can evolve new ways to communicate in less manufactured ways? But for that to work we do need to accept imperfection.