Tim Wu’s new book “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” – part 2


So that turns us to the next part of his thesis, that the internet is no different and it will succumb to the same “Cycle” as all other information evolutions.

This is something that is commonly discussed in media classes, will the hegemon co-opt the new upstart (the other) ?  Does the fact that one hit wonders on the Internet end up signing with NBC or MTV mean this new medium is dead?  And how can we compare it to other revolutions such as the telegraph or printing press?

I cannot stress this enough, when people are enabled it does not mean they MUST succeed.  If you have a car and it enables you to drive to the hospital, it does not mean you will be a doctor.  If you live in NYC and can take the subway to wall street, it does not mean you will be a trader or businessman.  it means you are enabled too, however slight that is, you do have an advantage over others.

The Internet is doing small things like this every day, so lets say the Internet becomes much more controlled and works more along boundaries defined by the traditional nation-state or larger treaty organization such as NATO.  It is still a pretty darn amazing change, even at that.

When Clay Shirky talked about new media, peer production and “love” he spoke of it in a paradigm changing way.  However, he kept his expectation in check.  This was not going to blow away the nation-state or traditional media, but it was going to offer a real challenge and change the way people work and most importantly, perceive things.

Changes are already happening but we adjust so quickly that we take them for granted.  Wu is making his money by being the pessimist in a world full of Internet educationalists and for that, I thank him.

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