Digital age challenging the establishment

Read Duncan McLeod’s piece on his FM blog, “What the heck is going on?“. He sums up something I have been mulling for sometime but have been unable to articulate satisfactorily. The rise of digital communications and the information age (computers, cellphones, internet) is revolutionising society and putting more power into the hands of the individual.

Says Duncan:

How do information-based companies (media companies; music companies; Hollywood) compete in a world where millions of people create their their own content — words, music, video and software — and share it with others, free of charge? Why do people do this? What’s the motive? How do information-based companies compete in a world where anyone can produce anything they want, without having to work within the confines of traditional corporate entities?

I guess you could say its the rise of the individual and entrepreneur vs the establishment? To some extent a book which I read sometime ago, called Netocracy, (read my review), also expands on this. It’s written by two Swedes and although very interesting I do think their conclusions are a bit too strong — they say we are headed towards a world where the only currency is someone’s network and reputation and money will lose its lustre and nation states will fail. Rupert Mudoch also spoke about this phenomenon in the media context saying that power was being shifted away from the media elite, establishment and editors, which probably explains his thinking around the MySpace acquisition. (Anyone know of any good books on this very subject?)

Whether you buy these theories or not, for me it’s just significant that people are thinking in this way. Is this all overstated or is this a very paradigm shift that will change society as we know it?

Now who’s got the answer?

Matthew Buckland: Publisher


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