This is an original copy of my Google Knol held at the Google wiki [ here ]
A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD:
One of the original allures of the Internet was a level playing field. And a global one. One where even a single individual could have a voice and get heard. Where everyone could compete on an even keel, as web publishing takes very little “tooling” or “training”. With CMS platforms (like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Uqast) almost anyone can publish a “good looking” web site. Just add original content – aka your big idea.
But over time, Internet publishing is changes faces. Governance, spammers, corporate greed, are all moving in on the small guy, The mom and pop bloggers are losing their foot hold. Independent publishers like myself, are struggling to compete over the noise and ever increasing competition.
But it’s not just increasing competition at the root of this. Increased competition is often good – raising internal standards and causing natural survival of the best. And the Internet “should” be big enough to provide an abundant audience (traffic) for all.
But in terms of organic search, there is only 1 page 1 search result, on each of the 6 major search engines.
In terms of social buzz, there are only so many top web 2 sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Digg, etc.) and each one only has 1 top chart, and 1 top slot.
That is fair enough. But now, not surprisingly we are seeing corporate and government takeover in to market share and market control.
There are 1001 debates we can have, where we may agree or disagree. One example close to my heart is the USA legislation on natural health aids. Whilst there may need to be some sort of standards for any supplement, food stuff, or information based techniques, as some things can be dangerous (effectiveness another discussion), should independent natural health followers be dictated to, by an organisation funded by commercial drug companies, because the governments aren’t sure what else to do?
Maybe self policing isn’t enough. But the alternatives seem far from ideal either.
Natural health is something that thousands of independent publishers personally believe in. Now our platforms are being limited.
Other things like state taxes affecting affiliates, gung-ho copyright tactics used by consortium’s of major publishers to take back control of the fair usage that once propelled them to their current status, SOPA (which affects way more than piracy) are other breeding grounds for the new Internet challenge.
As I said, we may or not agree on the politics, or specific topics, but one of the original principles of the Internet is free speech and a level playing field. It would be an immense shame and loss to the world, if more independent publishers were squeezed out of the “popular” Internet.
Of course big businesses and corporations want market share and should naturally be “part” of what’s available too. But “part” is very different to where the Internet seems to be heading in the next decade.
Independent publishers should survive for several reasons:
- True innovation tends to only come from people outside of the box.
Employees and freelancers do not fair well there.
- Competition protects the consumer with choices and promotes healthy competition and higher standards.But even independent publishers need “some” market share (and an open, level, platform)
- Independent publishers tend to be motivated by personal belief and hence usually care more about their audience. Corporates are fine, and even necessary, but they have to be powered like a machine, that requires policies, mission statements and “process definitions”.
It would be furony if I was suggesting anything other than “choice” for everyone, including corporates.
I can only hope that people continue to exercise their rights to access choices, and look beyond the main stream. And demand that they have the choice ot make make up their own mind.
George Orwell’s 1984 was conceived from a reason.
When the individual gives up their right to make their own choices, then the machine takes over.
And popular films like Terminator 3 Judgement Day, intimate how well that might pan out.
I call for the right to make more of my own choices.