The Secessionists and why journalism hasn't resurrected itself from the dead.

Art Nouveau has many parallels with the modern Internet Age: we had brash young men who rebelled against traditional media just as there were brash young artists who rebelled against the artistic Establishment at the end of the century.


In fact, those frustrated young artists wrote manifestos all but declaring war on the old guard.

What happened next was interesting: as a movement and genre, Art Nouveau had a very short shelf life, even though they captured the imagination of the young wealthy patrons, something advertisers to this day covet. World War One happened as Minimalism took over in those more austere times, but even so, many of those young guns made a name for themselves, and abandoned the movement as they became part of the Establishment and mainstream.

The radical movement was co-opted and its members pulled into the old guard's ways to the point that very little of the ornate frills and complexities survived.

The Internet's arrival was very much like the Secessionists -- the new kids were bold, brash, and declared to be different than the old guard.

The old guard, like their artistic predecessors, shrugged it off. After all, if the Art Nouveau turks could be brought into the fold, then the Internet kids would end up doing the same.

But the seemingly inevitable co-opting never actually happened.

It would be as if the Establishment not only lost out to Art Nouveau, but all saw their fortunes vanish, even if they attempted to emulate the new kids.

Art Nouveau appealed to the young, the rich, and was cagey in its marketing -- it didn't just peddle paintings and sculptures -- but furniture, jewelry, and even architecture. It was far more accessible and used the latest technology to create its work.

By all common sense, Art Nouveau was distinct, heavily used in advertising posters, and represented a utopian future.

It still was no match for the stodgy old guard that had created the societal habits required to keep their dominance in place.

And the Establishment media also counted on those deep-rooted habits to weather that Internet storm. It didn't matter if the kids these days were posting on the Internet, sooner or later, the kids of today become the adults of tomorrow and those fanciful indulgences would lose out to the old systems of the gate-keepers.

But unlike Art Nouveau, social media had a superior advantage of allowing anyone to bypass the middleman to have a potential global audience. No meddling. No editing. No editorializing. No censorship. No suppression.

The Establishment counted on old habits to ride the storm, never realizing it wasn't just the freedom -- but that superior new habits would shape expectations, and even thinking itself.

Some of it has to do with the deliberate manipulation of audiences that developers and programmers place into their sites which trigger changes in dopamine levels that mainstream journalism screams about all the time, but not all of it. People got a medium upgrade, and it was simple enough to use.

The change is a profound one. The present is digital. The future is still up for grabs, but it doesn't have room for old school journalism. It failed to keep up. It didn't see the changes technology had on the world. Unlike the last round, the new guard handily won.

A new form of journalism has to take that change into account: you cannot always predict things -- and fortunes can come and go in a blink of an eye. Reality is an essential concept to grasp: sometimes you can wait out the inexperienced swaggering turks -- but it is not a divine given. Journalism got too cocky, and it spelled their end as a force...