FROM PLACES TO SPACES

The net shifts from mass media to mess media.

On the new mess media, rumor, conspiracy, and paranoia run rampant. These have always been the downsides of communities; network midlands will also have to learn to deal with impenetrable webs and paranoic sensibilities. Capitalizing on these disadvantages, broadcast will thrive symbiotically within the network economy. Sometimes real-time signals en masse are needed and wanted. Broadcast’s flyover will be used, or material will be directly pushed to users. The web needs broadcast to focus attention, and broadcast needs the web to find communities.

Network technology expands all sizes. It enables the biggest to become bigger and the smallest to become smaller. In the near future we can expect to see institutions larger than they have ever been, and smaller than they have ever been. For instance, a few banks will grow monstrously large at the same time that other banks shrink to the size of a smart card in a wallet and increase their numbers by millions. The middle expands, too. That hard-to-reach territory that once was well served by places is rejuvenated.

The space of network nodes and flows creates new social organizations, new forms of companies, in oddball sizes, and in unconventional arrangements. We are on the brink of entering a world where almost any shape of business is possible.

 

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This is a blog version of a book of mine first published in 1998. I am re-issuing it (two posts per week) unaltered on its 10th anniversary. Comments welcomed. More details here.
-- KK