When I was in China, I like to read a lot of things. As China was going through a transformation of modernization, there are a lot of reflection on the traditional social structure and what it means to be modern society. So there are a lot of discussion on material, market, management, urbanism, openness. It is important to assimilate all these ideas as they are going on as a collective thinking and reflection of our time, and to feel how the society is transformed bit by bit.
When I first came to America, I felt it was important to have concrete experience of democratic life. So I watched C-Span and followed American politics quite intensively. I read New York Times to help me understand the details and subtle mechanism of how this democratic system works.
But as time goes on, I feel more and more that I cannot get much from reading from those conventional medias, such as New York Times and others. You don’t see a lot of new ideas there about the future of our democracy. It is mostly facts of things happened. But you don’t get to see a lot of ardent reflection of the culture and social system, which you can often find in quite a few Chinese newspapers. But in the field I am working on (social software and grassroots web), I know there are a lot of exciting new things going on that will fundamentally transform the foundation of our society in many aspects. So after wasting my time over and over again reading main stream media and not feeling I have learned anything, I want to say forget it, I am going to just focus on social software and grassroots web, which is where the current frontier is. There are really a lot of exciting things going on there. Politics, however, is still quite backwards, Even they started picking up some news things from the web, I still feel they are largely backwards.
I just want to take the chance to point out where the frontier is now, so people looking for new ideas and concerned about the future of our democracy know where to go to read things.