Early today, I came across a blog post by Gartner’s Jack Santos, Musings: The Amplification of Communication. Jack recites the maxim, “Sending a message does not necessarily mean it was received” and makes the case that people and the system become worse off for having tried and failed to communicate, “…one can only wonder when the whole trend will hit critical mass and collapse into a new dark age.”
Social learning curve
I can understand his arguments about appropriate use and the problems of duplication. As someone on the sending and receiving side of both traditional and the latest forms of media, I can tell you that it takes some getting used to. I wrote recently about the need to develop a social voice from my own challenges with the apparent signal to noise ratio. I had one false start on Twitter over a year ago before giving it a second shot last year. I get it now.
Turn back the clock?
SOPA and PIPA went down in flames last week, perhaps only temporarily, with many of the vocal opponents like Clay Shirky arguing that the true intent behind limiting piracy was to limit the content people can have to what they buy from media giants. Shirky argues that the reason the big studios and recording companies would like to shut down piracy is a veiled attempt to shut down all file sharing. He supports his arguments by pointing out that the language in the law that would have put Google and others on the hook for any illegal files they hosted or facilitated. Any site that allows posting of media would never be able to guarantee that all of their content is original and not pirated, therefore file sharing would cease to happen, making the studios and record companies the only ones with content. We would go back to the way things were in the days before the Internet when media moguls controlled what everyone consumed. We know who the winners would be.
Mother of invention
My issue with Santos’ contention that we should focus just on effective channels is that it takes away the democratization (great) that is part of the chaos (bad). Whoever owns the decision about what is an “effective channel” would have media mogul-like power to control content…a significant setback. Keep in mind that from the seemingly negative things, we’re finding many new and innovative ways to manage the noise because necessity is the mother of invention. What Santos calls “throwing solutions against the wall to see if communication ‘sticks'” is also the trial and error that leads to innovative ways to do business.
In the end, the duplication and channels will sort themselves out in the grand sifter of relevance. Great content will find its way to the top and trash will settle. What matters is having a single channel that connects everyone, even if one of several options people have (why Facebook is still beating Google). Communication chaos will sort itself out without organizations having to create limits by force.