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What the Net Is

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Profound essay on the nature of the Internet from Blogcritics Doc Searls and David Weinberger, with ramifications for those who seek to control it, especially the media industries we follow here on Blogcritics. Every government figure from the judiciary to Congress to regulatory bureaucrats, as well as every media executive, should read this and let it sink in:

    World of Ends: What the Internet Is and How to Stop Mistaking It for Something Else.

    ….mistakes we insist on making over and over. For example, thinking that:

    …the Web, like television, is a way to hold eyeballs still while advertisers spray them with messages.
    …the Net is something that telcos and cable companies should filter, control and otherwise “improve.”
    … it’s a bad thing for users to communicate between different kinds of instant messaging systems on the Net.
    …the Net suffers from a lack of regulation to protect industries that feel threatened by it.
    When it comes to the Net, a lot of us suffer from Repetitive Mistake Syndrome. This is especially true for magazine and newspaper publishing, broadcasting, cable television, the record industry, the movie industry, and the telephone industry, to name just six.

    ….All we need to do is pay attention to what the Internet really is. It’s not hard. The Net isn’t rocket science. It isn’t even 6th grade science fair, when you get right down to it. We can end the tragedy of Repetitive Mistake Syndrome in our lifetimes — and save a few trillion dollars’ worth of dumb decisions — if we can just remember one simple fact: the Net is a world of ends. You’re at one end, and everybody and everything else are at the other ends.

    ….The Nutshell

    1. The Internet isn’t complicated
    2. The Internet isn’t a thing. It’s an agreement.
    3. The Internet is stupid.
    4. Adding value to the Internet lowers its value.
    5. All the Internet’s value grows on its edges.
    6. Money moves to the suburbs.
    7. The end of the world? Nah, the world of ends.
    8. The Internet’s three virtues:
    a. No one owns it
    b. Everyone can use it
    c. Anyone can improve it
    9. If the Internet is so simple, why have so many been so boneheaded about it?
    10. Some mistakes we can stop making already….

Read the essay, they provide a clear explanation for each of the points above. We are proud to have such visionary philosophers among our ranks.

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About Eric Olsen