Mass mediums are typically bad at helping people translate ideas to practice

Books, videos, and other typical mass media are not themselves examples of a Participatory environment, but they also usually don’t do a good job of facilitating external participation, outside the context of those media. This is another way of saying that they usually fail to create an Enabling environment.

There’s an important disconnect between the experience of consuming the informational media and the experience of doing something with it. This is partially a temporal issue: the material needs to transcend the confined time period in which you read it (Mass mediums mostly lack an authored time dimension beyond a day). But there’s also a context issue here.

MOOCs attempt to solve this but largely fail. It’s worth reflecting more on why.

One potential solution is Enacted experiences have incredible potential as a mass medium. There are probably others.

Related: What’s the big-picture impact of the mnemonic medium on readers?


Elizier Yudkowsky’s preface to Rationality A-Z:

…the first -largest mistake in my writing … was that I didn’t realize that the big problem in learning this valuable way of thinking was figuring out how to practice it, not knowing the theory. I didn’t realize that part was the priority; and regarding this I can only say “Oops” and “Duh.”

Q. What does Elizier Yudkowsky regard as the largest mistake he made when blogging on Less Wrong?
A. Focusing on theory instead of practice.

Last updated 2023-07-13.