I thought I was done with top 10 lists for 2005, and I have resisted talking about a few of them I have found interesting, but I have to bend for one more.
J.D. Lasica posted his Top 10 Tech Transformations of 2005 and I find a few of them as well as the overall tenor of the list to be very telling about what’s in store for 2006 and beyond.
He titles his item number 1 “The Edges Gain Power,” which is his way of describing the power flow away from the traditional media outlets and towards ordinary users and citizen programmers and journalists. This is a first cousin of the decentralization I have been talking about with respect to the music industry- where technology and the internet have become the great equalizer that obviates the need for the traditional gatekeepers (i.e., the record label cartel). With some reasonably priced technology, a little technical skill and an internet connection, musicians can make, distribute and sell their product directly to the public. That is a big win for the musician and the consumer. The only ones who complain about it are the record labels who fear the pending demise of the golden goose.
The same thing is happening with other media. A year and a half ago, I didn’t really know what a blog was, yet today I get most of my news from blogs. The traditional media outlets (such as the daily newspapers and nightly newscasts) lost their purchase in a two-part battle. First people began getting news online as opposed to via the delivered newspaper (we haven’t subscribed to a newspaper in many years and I rarely watch the 10:00 newscast becase I already know from reading online sources what it’s going to be about). That was a heavy blow, but it was just the beginning of the exodus. Now people are moving away from the tradtional online sources in favor of citizen journalists and their blogs or blog-equivalents. There will always be a place for websites pushing content from the traditional outlets, but more and more those web sites are being thrown into the source bucket with a lot of other less traditional sources and read either via an RSS aggregator or an html aggregator (such as My Yahoo or a personalized Google page). Again, the days of the gatekeeper are over. The only thing holding the traditional media outlets together is the lack of computer savvy inherent in the older generations. Once that last fortification is overrun by the passage of time, the castles, now under siege, will fall completely.
As J.D. says, this is a thing of “pure beauty.”
This move to the “edge” permeates J.D.’s list, with at least 7 of his 10 items having something to do with this trend.
I am always happy to go to the source, whether that’s a musician or a blogger who interests, educates or motivates me. A level playing field is good for everyone who matters. The former gatekeepers will eventually have bury the goose and adapt to this new reality. Those who do it willingly will be ahead of those, like the record labels and some of the traditional media, who put their heads in the sand and hope the golden goose will rally.
Go tell Aunt Rhody, the golden goose is dead.