Saturday, July 14, 2007

"Everything Is Challenged"

We're not coming off the fishing boat. Yet.

But we had to Note today's Weekend WSJ article, "Happy Blogiversary".

The whole thing is worth a read.

Particularly Dick Costolo's contribution to the article:
When I was a kid, there were three broadcast TV channels that everybody was subscribed to, a couple of local papers and a handful of local radio stations with significant range. For all these broadcasters, a community of interest was defined as all the households this broadcast is reaching, so there was no real concept of targeted content or communities of interest. If you happened to be interested in venture capital and were a college student living in Detroit, there was no way for you to participate (an important term) in any community of interest around venture capital unless you moved to Silicon Valley or paid a ridiculous sum of money to subscribe to an obscure newsletter.

On the publishing side, the barriers to entry were replete with all manner of government regulation, massive capital requirements and steep learning curves, creating a natural status difference between publishers and subscribers. The publishers had massive status, the subscribers little or none. The Internet destroyed most of the barriers to publication. The cost of being a publisher dropped to almost zero with two interesting immediate results: anybody can publish, and more importantly, you can publish whatever you want. With the cost of publication at almost zero, the cost of subscribing to almost any community of interest also dropped to zero. Anybody can publish and anybody can subscribe, and publishers and subscribers are now two sides to the same coin. Any subscriber can actively participate in any community of interest by becoming a publisher in that community.

Everything is challenged and no media provider is immune from open public questioning. This is true across the spectrum of publishers. A VC blog written by an expert in Silicon Valley with 20 years' experience is subject to counterpoints from the student in Detroit who's similarly passionate about this community of interest. The challenge, of course, is that in a media democracy, it is incumbent on all of us to determine how we make decisions about authenticity and authority in media, since these traits are no longer an implicit (if sometimes unwarranted) artifact of publication.

We've said it before, we'll say it again - The Internet is a "physical instrument" tearing the old world asunder.

The whole world.

And it's absolutely fascinating. And exciting. And scary.

So take that Gutenberg! You and your movable type, sniff, how "yesterday".

Now back to the fishing. For another week.