Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Seizing the Means of Production

In the Environmental Scan, we referred to "disaggregation" to describe the wide-spread phenomena of institutions, content, professionals and other mediating entities increasingly being removed or diminished in their interactions with end users and consumers. It's a theme that continues to interest me. Here, from the Center for Citizen Media blog is an article, "The demise of the Professional Photojournalist."

Bloggers participate in journalism. Flickr and YouTube contributers participate in photo- and videojournalism. Civilians catalog (a lot!) at LibraryThing.

Ten years ago, Derrick de Kerckhove, then and now the head of The McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto said, in an interview with Wired's Kevin Kelly:
"In a networked society, the real power shift is from the producer to the consumer, and there is a redistribution of controls and power. On the Web, Karl Marx's dream has been realized: the tools and the means of production are in the hands of workers."

So, perhaps "Web 2.0" is just this century's way of saying "seize the means of production." (and I discovered plenty of people writing about this on the Web...) However the phenomenon is described, it is clear that experts who manage and mediate content are required--and perhaps most importantly--desired less and less. Now, if only we could find a way to disaggreate expertise from the expert and send it out where its needed.

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