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Three models of the Internet

Grant McCracken blogs about three ways of taking the depth and seriousness of the Net’s effect on culture. Here’s a distillation, but you should read the whole thing:

1. Disintermediation – “The Internet is an efficiency machine. It removes the friction…”

2. Long Tail – “The Internet is a profusion machine. It allows small cultural producers to find small cultural consumers, and as a result, all hell is breaking lose…”

3. Reformation – “It change the units of analysis and the relationships between them. This reformation model says, in other words, that the coming changes will deeply cultural…and not merely social (model 2) and economic (model 1).”

He concludes by offering a fourth. And, he notes that the first three are telescoping: If you believe 3, you also believe 2 and 1.

My view: Left free of large institutions trying to stifle the Net, it would become #3. Anyway, Grant offers us useful distinctions. [Tags: ]


Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis have posted a piece they wrote for Nieman Reports, called “The Future Is Here, But Do News Media Companies See It?” The cutline gives away the surprise ending: “Traditional news media are not yet willing to adopt the principals of the environment in which they find themselves.” Good all-around survey of what’s going on.

4 Responses to “Three models of the Internet”

  1. Ah, yes, not being able to see the environment. This, I think, is one of the great challenges for (and characteristics of) the “organization of the future” and not merely media companies. McLuhan said, “one thing about which fish are completely unaware is the water, since they have no anti-environment that would allow them to perceive the element they swim in.

  2. “Traditional news media are not yet willing to adopt the principals of the environment in which they find themselves,” and Nieman Reports is not willing to adopt the distinction between “principles” and “principals.”

  3. replication… in which the internet over-time becomes a replica of the institution that people thought it would replace.

  4. Why aren’t numbers one, two, and three all the same thing?


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