April 16. The billionaire media entrepreneur and voluble owner of the Dallas Mavericks asks What’s the Next and 1st Biggest Broadband Application? And I answer (old wine in a new bottle to anyone who follows this site).
Next and 1st Big Broadband App? Heck, Mark, it’s staring us in the face, hidden in plain view. It’s got to be what America needs most in this age of polarized, hyper-partisan politics: an intelligent, non-partisan, issue-centered large-audience decision making process that uses bandwidth to strengthen America’s ability to solve problems and maximize opportunities.
Is this asking too much? Why the hell don’t we already have one when everyone yaks on and on about the need for it?
How would it work? Easy, the tools for it are already available. Think of a structured competition, a competition of competitions, somewhat like American Idol, that integrates the Internet, telephony and network TV to connect competitors and the viewing/participating public. Think also of programming that helps Americans find and advance the information they need in order to make smart decisions on the political decisions that affect their lives, communities and country.
This decision-making process is big. Fully developed, it taps the MARKET OF THE WHOLE of all 300 million Americans. In fact it’s the transformative programming that network TV execs are looking for (but resist I suspect on account of their profitable ties to the political status quo.) Once in place, this broadband app becomes part of what it means to be an American. I call it civic media. Its greatest task at the moment would be help all Americans work their way out of the recession or depression we’re in now. But civic media handles any task, whether it’s finding solutions to the problems of student loans, gangs and drugs, immigration or health care. Or maximizing opportunities like developing the most fuel efficient auto or best low cost housing.