This is a fine summary of a perfect storm that threatens to maroon academic conversation to an isolated and increasingly irrelevant sector of society. I especially like your distinction between technical and institutional obsolescence.

I also was glad to see you consider “peer-to-peer” review. In an academic context, “peer” means one of a handful of people familiar with your subdiscipline. To “influence” them means to publish a journal article that some sliver of that tiny demographic just might read. In a new media context, influence is counted in seven digit-figures rather than two or three. To be a peer on Gnutella is to be sharing files with a million fellow users. If you only get a hundred hits on your Web site, you might as well throw in the towel.

The situation reminds me of the Monty Python “Royal Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things”–not to mention the fact that one of the synonyms for the word “academic” is “irrelevant.”

Fortunately, I think academics are starting to consider peer review in the more open sense of the term. Some evidence:

(As an early commentator on ThoughtMesh, I thought you’d be interested in the latter–click on the “peer review” tab to hear a bunch of Cambridge dons flame each other online).

Good luck with your book!