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?
Christmas as we know it will never be the same 🙁