Road Ahead: Internet Is Shaping Us

The Road Ahead: Internet Shaping Us - April 2010
Photo by: CLUC

Increasingly, it is the Internet shaping us.

Its ubiquity, interactivity and immediacy means (among other things) communicators cannot bluff, puff or hide as Dave Morgan observes in his Online Spin Columns for Media Post, “Branding In the Age of Authenticity.” He sums this up for brand marketers: “brand slogans in the future will be those uttered by marketers’ customers, not those that marketers broadcast at them.” (An increasing concern for Toyota).

In a “Pollyanna-ish” blog for SearchInsider, Kathy Colbin says, “Greed is out; dishonesty will be revealed, and, ironically, the more you prioritize doing the right thing over the bottom line, the more your bottom line will benefit. “This direction is inevitable, thanks to a simple phenomenon: the proliferation of ever-more-powerful search capabilities and the rapid disappearance of whatever semblance of privacy we once had. We are experiencing a top-down, bottom-up convergence of forces that compel us to just be better people.” Really.

A snake in this Garden of Eden is seen by Kurt Cagle in his “The Rise and Fall of Journalism ” (Part IV) for TechNewsWorld where he is managing editor. He adds another characteristic of the Internet that he sees shaping journalism: “pertinence.” His line of reasoning is that the Internet is supplanting communities of place with communities of interest whose members are scattered geographically but gathered by “a shared theme, topic or cause.” In this view, “moderators who act primarily to insure that inbound content from contributors do not stray too radically from the role of the interest group” are replacing “editors”. This may be obvious but it is also problematic with the rise of the “Semantic Web.” Semantic tools read through blogs, articles and documents to determine what they are about (apparently without the bother of a human reading them). This may save time but it also may fail to recognize that, “user-generated content does not necessarily just represent true facts, but also contains opinions, distortions, analyses and biased content.” (Again, a growing problem for Toyota).