2012-09-26, Nerijus Celkonas

Hubs vanish – media gatekeepers (part 3)

 Hubs vanish – media gatekeepers (part 3) (read part 2)

We still seek two goals when talking about information addressed to a person:

-        To give information or to teach

In other words, we either report news or want to change one‘s thinking. This is valid through all activities: form school desk to media, to consumer behavior formation.

TV, magazines, radio, movies, internet, mobile phones and P2P (person to person) spread information than teaches us or gives new information.

Media channels have been concentrated in legal centers since the old days, and these are private or government-owned capital companies where editors decide which information and how it should be presented to us.  Yes, it‘s one form of control. In other words, knowledge and news of 7 billion people are ruled by a few thousands of global or local judges – gatekeepers – and through their filters we share all accumulated knowledge and information. According to some sources, for ex., in USA most of this power is concentrated in the hands of THE BIG FIVE (Walt Disney Corporation, News Corporation, Time Warner, Viacom, CBS Corporation).

Will the invention of the XX century – the Internet – will change the rules? How is the creation of information, its spread and use changing? Will everything stay concentrated in the hands of the gatekeepers?

Information is usually exchanged among these groups:  

P2P – person to person – it’s the immediate communication between individuals which is limited by the spread of internet to personal communication via phone, letters, music and books.

B2C – business to consumer – it’s the marketing field (advertising, movies, music, etc.).

B2B – business to business – it’s the direct communication, letters, rules and instructions.

C2B – consumers to business – it’s customer support centers and review portals.

Before the rise of internet most of the information had to go through the gatekeepers’ filters. Marketing (business), politics, news have always been and still is the most information that we consume and which reaches our eyes and ears already edited.

We can assuredly say that internet connected 7 billion eyes and ears already into a honeycomb network. Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and many other innovators of the modern times understood this very early. Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other social networks allow us to share information “peer-to-peer”, that is, information doesn’t pass through center gatekeepers and goes directly person to person (technologically it’s not precise, but the essence is that we don’t feel that this communication still goes through servers/Hubs). As consumers, we feel that we’re communicating directly in groups or individually. All to everyone, one to all or all to one – modern technologies allow this.

So what are the up-coming trends of information spread? If the goal of the information is to present news and/or teach – Hub decentralization turned this mass information into total and huge chaos. If formerly everything was edited, filtered and presented for consumption at a certain place and time, then “peer-to-peer” spread still has no rules or system. Some might call it the true democracy, but we’re already overloaded with information flow where we have to select (want it or not) the info we need from thousands of bloggers, news portals, social networks’ feeds, x-pedias, search systems… I’m not even talking about the fact that businesses (B2C) joined the party and enlarged this flow a few times through SPAM or social networks. Consumers are trying to protect themselves by blocking this flow using various technologies such as SPAM filters, ad blocks, personalized RSS feeds, etc.

Now every one of the 7 billion can write a message to another one of the 7 billion. Businesses increase this amount a few times because of robotization. Sometimes you can’t even tell if you’re communicating with a real person or with a machine. And I’m not talking about AI (artificial intelligence) beginner SIRI.

Is there a solution on how to systemize and arrange this whole chaos?

There’re more senders of information and messages than the ones wanting to receive and read them in today’s economic system. It’s very possible that soon simple and convenient tools to manage personal information flow will be created. It will be personalized individual secretaries that will automatically process and allocate information according to personal needs and likes. If, for example, I’m interested in the lives of pop stars and the newest fashion collections interest me occasionally, the system will group all in such a way and present me with the processed edition – no more Google searches. Friends’ messages, personal or business emails will be collected and grouped according to my chosen system and only those that can’t be answered by my personal auto-assistant will be presented for my review at a set time. 

If news and work information flows can be controlled and it only requires an intelligent and self-taught IT system, what will happen to the info that businesses are pushing?

The main goal of marketing is to present the product at the correct place, time, to the correct buyer at a proper price. Of course, this is a theoretical and quite outdated model only. Modern businessmen don’t know these rules or simply ignore them. How would you call an advertising campaign where I’m offered to buy a beauty salon coupon with an 80% discount in Facebook? We have to understand how the whole system works. There’re more manufacturers of goods and services than there are consumers of those. The better the good (price and quality ratio) - the less advertising it needs. The worse the good – the more pitching it needs in order to change the customers’ opinion about it and occupy the position of “it’s a competitive good” in our heads. 

So how do we manage and automate these processes in order for me, as a consumer, to receive information that’s checked and passed through my friends’ or other consumers’ filters and at a certain time? For example, my shoes are worn-out and I have to buy a new pair. Information should be presented to me according to my personalized shopping history and tendencies, only at a certain time, for ex., when I’m in a shopping mood, only for a personalized price and, finally, at a time when I’ve decided to spend time in the mall.

So we just wait for new initiatives that would systemize and ease this “peer-to-peer” information exchange, as the chaos we’ve got now is just begging for innovation. Read part 4, Business entities

Author Nerijus Celkonas, CEO Qwekee.com

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