I remember when I started surfing the Internet, it was slow, hard and yet amusingly fun. I was more curious than I was looking for a specific thing. Being human, and we all are, we tend to filter down. When we first found ourselves zooming the information highway, we looked at hundreds resources, maybe even thousands, collecting the information we were looking for, and much more we didn’t need.
When I started doing research on the Internet, I had bookmarked thousands of sites, mostly information that helped me confirm my work, and then there was the stuff I thought might be interesting, or maybe even fun. Over time (years), I found myself going back to sites that were helpful, most of the channels I bookmarked never got my attention.
Today, there are millions upon millions of websites with information, some of it useful, most of it not so much. The biggest change with the Internet today is, mainstream seems to have taken the Internet and made behave like the Matrix. If NET Neutrality has its way, the channels will become fewer, and you will won’t have the choices you have today. You won’t have the freedom to see all that you can see today. But that’s not the story.
You see, you may have noticed that the sites you visit have become a smaller number, and you probably find yourself going back to the same 5 – 10 sites each day to get the information you like, and that’s the story. All the major networks, the major newspapers, all the major news channels, and all the social networks are sharing the same content over and over. The high rotation of the same content has us going to fewer places on the Internet, and nothing seems authentic anymore. Your information channels are shrinking! To compound the problem, you, the Internet surfer, and all your friends are sharing the same thing repeatedly, hence the high repetition on FaceBook, Twitter, and what have you.
What used to be a curious highway, filled with an endless supply of information, has become a small town of gossipers, and many seem to like fewer channels, because its easier, you don’t have to work so hard. The information isn’t as strong as it once was, the quality if you will, has lost it’s ability to hold you to the content for long periods of time.
This topic has been beaten to death, but news sites just don’t get it. Without naming which news site I’m referring to, well all of them actually, a paywall is just another nail in the coffin. I’m not saying these news site’s should earn revenue, what should do is, pull their heads out of their butts! The older generations who don’t have the patience to look for the news will pay now, but for how long, that has yet to be determined. We are now at a place on the Internet where you can’t really hide anything, it will be accessed. Why, because everything will generate a stream everywhere. Content will surface eventually, it’s like having a leak in your roof, you can see the water, but you can’t find the source, where it’s coming from.
Mainstream news sites are now asking social networks to shutdown accounts connected to news sources because it is in violation of trademark laws, not sure how, but I’m not a lawyer. If that’s true, we are in for a world of hurt in other situations similar to this case. The world is getting more and more uncomfortable with an open economy, the push back is amazing. Like it or not, an open & free economy will happen, corps / big business need to find a way to participate without trying to control the economy. The challenge is, they don’t know how, or maybe they do and it scares them.
There is the argument that journalists are the trusted reporters, anyone who is not credentialed as such can’t be trusted or does not have the means to verify facts in the same way they can. Most facts can be verified, the truth is, most facts can be found and verified, no one has locked the market on confirming stories.
Paywalls aren’t going to disappear, they will however become somewhat hidden, seamless, and hopefully, invisible. The problem isn’t really the paywall, the problem is how value is measured by the people formerly known as consumers. If value is found in the content, someone will pay for it, if not, they keep moving. It’s not about mechanics, what’s changed is how we value.
The news sites and or newspapers that force payment they will in the long run lose out. We now live in a world where everything is moving to free, or an access first model, and then maybe, people will pay. The commerce model is reversing, things that can’t be copied are the only real value, because they are scarce.
The other reality these news sites and or all news mediums have to come to grips with, they are too slow to break the news now, Twitter is the channel of choice for most when it comes to sharing major events and stories. The problem for these corps is, they can’t staff enough people to be everywhere all the time 24/7.
The Industrial Age of control is dead, wall street and major corporations are running around with their heads cut off trying to stop you and I from doing what we want to do. Net Neutrality, metered bandwidth and paywalls are all they know and all they know how to do, it’s about control and grabbing as much money as they can.
The Future of Business is the opposite of what they know, executives refuse to deal with the paradigm shift of an open & free business model. Having said that, I know some great people they should hire to help them maintain revenue levels they are used to, but they won’t, they don’t trust anyone.
The rest of the world hasn’t even come online yet, and when they do, they will push the paywalls down.
Will you pay for news you can get for free?
First off let me confess, I am an Internet Junkie, I make my living mostly because of the Internet. Having said that, I could probably still survive without the NET, but I doubt it, I would have no way of proving my work. Imagine if say Big Brother decided the Internet should be turned off, unplugged! What would you do? Worse yet, what would happen if every computer was confiscated from every home? You’re right, that’s just plain stupid!
I mean, how would Generation G’s and Zoomers survive without the Internet, without technology period? Those two demographics are going to turn the world upside down, it’s already happening. The rules are being re-written, broken and frankly destroyed by innovation and new ways of getting things done. In fact, they don’t care what we older generations think, they don’t even want to discuss how we used to do things, they just want to do what they want to do whether it works or doesn’t. They behave like a Venture Capital firm would, just keep doing something until it scores big time financially on the Internet.
The idea of an organization turns their stomach, Gen G will be able to organize without organizations, that ability to coalesce will have profound destabilizing impact on institutions. You must concede, The Internet is fueling those who want to be heard, the rise of people, people who regroup and organize on the fly. We are in a time where one voice makes a difference, we the people are taking charge and we are speaking up, Corporations don’t know what to do with us in this state. It would so much easier if they could just unplug all of us from the Internet so they wouldn’t have to deal with us. They want us to go about our business and continue to trust them on Wall Street, keep the wool over our eyes. That’s just not going to happen is it?
The Internet doesn’t make us more creative, it’s a platform, a game changer that enables what we create to be seen, heard, and used. The Internet let’s us write the rules of business, let’s us share, let’s us give our creative rights away. The momentum is already too much to stop, the Internet could not be turned off or unplugged, our economies would collapse, businesses would cease to exist. Imagine a world without the Internet, we would have to redesign how work, how we organize work, much like we are doing in this Digital Age. KAOS would ensue, just as it is with the removal of the Industrial Age thinking, the old model is dead.
The new open models are allowing creative individuals to make more money than those that fall under the Copyright Laws of yesterday. Copyright as it is written does not work on the Internet, but a Creative Commons License, or a Collaborative Licenses or possibly User Rights Licenses may prevail.
Who would have thought the big money would be in the conversation. What you and I say everyday on the Internet, is being used to figure out trends, where we are gathering, and what we want to be able to do, for the purposes of making money. It’s what we do here in North America, we are always trying to figure out how to make more money, as much as we can possibly want. What would happen if the tap was turned off, the Internet was unplugged, or worse yet controlled by Cable Networks, Government, and Internet Telcoms. It’s called NET NEUTRALITY, and it’s real, it’s in the courts today.
So What Would You Do If The Internet Got Unplugged?
Now that the iPad is available, many are jumping on the 1st version as a collectors item. Many are hailing the iPad as the future of computing, I don’t see it that way. I do see Apple’s iPad as a player in the Net Neutrality movement, it’s a closed system that forces you to play the Apple way. This gives Apple the opportunity to control what you can and can’t do with the iPad, what apps you can run, what you can look at on the Net and so on. It’s another mechanism of control which smacks the face of being an open opportunity. Yes the product will have an impact in many areas, and you will enjoy using it. The bigger picture is more bothersome in my humble opinion.
Firstly, it’s not a computer. Secondly, it’s more like a portal that can run apps on the cloud. Thirdly, the size is a problem for power users. I see the iPad as a distraction, mobile computing should be your focus if you are a developer of apps. You can argue that the iPad is a mobile device, but you would be hard pressed to convince me. With only 1.7 Billion people on the Internet to date and another 3.3 Billion to come over the next 3 – 5 years, the iPhone, BlackBerry & Android are more likely the tools of choice over the iPad.
There will be a niche for the iPad but that’s a far cry from being the future of computing. The future of computing is in the Nanotechnology field, we will merge with technology and become wireless devices in the next 30 – 40 years. I won’t be around to see it most likely but it will be very interesting to watch the progress.
I suspect I’ll pick up an iPad at some point, but it’s not the future of my computing. Soon you won’t be able to buy Desktop Computers (Towers), Laptop’s will slowly disappear in the next 5 years, leaving the iPhone, BlackBerry, Android & iPad? Microsoft just announced a phone as well, we’ll see more before it’s all said and done. Don’t bank on any one thing in the next 10 years, we are going to see more change than ever before, making it impossible to predict what is and isn’t possible.
Net Neutrality is all about control and Apple isn’t about to move beyond that model anytime soon by the looks of things. I am more interested in ecosystems that benefit all, not just a chosen few.
What do you think? Is the iPad the future of computing or is it a shortterm product making way for something better?