Gutenberg’s printing press created a sea change. His press allowed books to be produced in large numbers which forced some additional changes to occur. The press allowed increases in the number of words that could be used and additional words increased the total amount of content that could be communicated. As the press became commoditized it wasn’t just the rich that could produce content. Streamlined processes and lower costs with production increased the variety of choice in subject matter – beyond approved content. Regular folks wrote to persuade the masses and leveraging the new technology crazy ideas could plant a seed – that in turn – plants additional seeds, and so on.
What’s interesting is that text doesn’t need to exist on paper anymore – it moves and has opened us up to a whole new way of thinking about how we consume and interact with data. I feel like acceptance of the internet started us all down the path removing prejudiced vendors and brokers of information. What if the only bookstore that you’ve ever had access to, only had books that told you the South won the civil war? What if the cheapest or most accessible paper was only provided by NewsCorp? A there vendors trying to control their prospects & customers by replacing the internet with the app – you betcha. I’d be willing to bet that people that purchase through apps versus a website have a higher “Loyalty” and Shopping Cart Value. Apps and sites are brokers but the big difference is available access and choice. What if iPADs only had certain approved apps (they do) could they effectively control the consumed messages? Seems pretty far fetched but you’ll never see Apps that bash Apple on an Apple product. As a public company can Google afford “Don’t be evil” with such massive power and information at their core? By the way did anyone else notice “Don’t be Evil” became “You can make money without doing evil”. I’m not a socialist by the way – hardcore capitalist through and through.
Prejudicial pitchy vendors and brokers are dying and the sooner they learn that control is an illusion the better. I’ve got the keys – not you.
Look at BitCoin, I laughed at first but its gaining traction and more and more vendors are accepting it. It’s a currency exchange between people – killing a specific broker – the bank (Queue the lobbyists). There are communities out there that are supporting themselves for specific products (Salesforce.com) with user groups and forums – most folks don’t want to talk to a company. Odds are they’ll get a low cost support tech that delays their answer – Is it about speed and efficiency or Do they TRUST the community MORE than the company?
Do you think Thomas Paine went through an approved printing press company for the 48 pages of Common Sense? Did he remove the prejudiced broker/vendor by perhaps finding a sympathetic printer? Can you imagine if all 48 pages of Common Sense had an interactive community around it citing sources and rallying together? Could King George have jumped in and had a counter argument disputing each point from its anonymous “Written by an Englishman” author and eased tensions? Could George or his cohorts have stopped the press (Killed the App) if they’d found out about it from a sympathetic printer. What similar e-documents or tweets are being used to aid countries in their continuing efforts for independence? Can you shut down this peer-to-peer communication, not a chance. Does the phone texting networks, Blog-o-shpere or the Twitter-verse speed the process up? – I’d argue it does.
Compelling content is out there and created by people that have passion about the topic they love. We consume it every day and vote with our clicks. Communities get developed around that good content that discuss MY problems not yours. I really have no interest in hearing about your new fangled widget. Whether paid or not people take the time to post 900,000 blogs per day. While we read these posts there are roughly 70 million videos on YouTube and 2 Billion searches on Google. We must be looking for more and more communities to interact with and content to consume about us. I work (and expect to work) with this new content much differently than I do when I read a book – I take actions much quicker as its right there in front of me. Dispute a fact – look it up. Want to argue a point – post a comment. Product solves my issue – buy it. Have a concern about a company – ask your friends as a group. I may have a bias towards action (twitter name biasforaction) but I don’t think I’m unique.
Image courtesy of suphakit73 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net