Joho the Blog » Everything’s a network, even bookmobiles

Everything’s a network, even bookmobiles

A few times in the course of Derek Attig’s really interesting talk on the history of bookmobiles yesterday, he pointed out how the route map of the early bookmobiles (and later ones, too) resembles a network map. He did this to stress that the history of bookmobiles is not simply a history of vehicles, but rather should be understood in terms of those vehicles’ social effect: creating and connecting communities.

I like this point, and I don’t mean to suggest that Derek carried the analogy too far. Not at all. But, it is an excellent example of how we are reinterpreting everything in terms of networks, just as we had previously interpreted everything in terms of computers and programs and information, and before that in terms of telephone networks, and before that…and before that…and before that….

Cultural paradigm shift? Underway!

One Response to “Everything’s a network, even bookmobiles”

  1. Its always been my contention that the reason nobody can charge for content is that it has always been free and that the network perspective explains it.

    When we buy a newspaper, what we are paying for is the growing, milling, pulping, printing and distribution of the platform, not the content. Every day the newspaper company has to rebuild its physical network and the cover price covers that rebuild.

    The content is, and has always been, free. In fact, the content is the bait, the reader is the product and the customer is the advertiser. You can’t get fish to pay for their bait, certainly not up-front and you can’t get readers to pay for their bait either.

    The key reason that the papers can’t survive the internet is that the network charge is entangled with the content. The phone company/ISP charges a flat monthly fee for “network access” and everything else is “free” but they have separated the network charge from the content and made it a monthly one-off not a daily constant drain. If that transaction was a daily cost they would be hard pressed to keep their customers as well.

    I’m sure there’s some marketing psychology about why that is a hard sell, but that’s what it is.

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