The End of the Broadcast Nation

December 14th, 2002 | Posted by paul in Uncategorized

In David Weinberger’s white paper, he writes:

We are not in the age of information. We are not in the age of the Internet.

We are in the Age of Connection.

Being connected is at the heart of our democracy and our economy. The more and better those connections, the stronger are our government, businesses, science, culture, education.

Until now, our connectedness has depended on centralized control points that have been the gatekeepers of our economic and political networks. To speak to everyone, you had to be one of the few with access to a broadcast networks. To sell to everyone, you had to be one of the few with access to a global distribution channel. To achieve office, you had to be one of the few with access to corporate coffers and national media.

But we are on the verge of being able to connect to anyone and everyone, whenever and however we want. No gatekeepers. Ubiquitous connection. Connectedness thatís always there and always on.

This isn’t about getting more TV channels. Change the way we’re connected

and youíve changed everything, from the economy to governance. This is how fundamental transformation ccurs.

In this context, spectrum has nothing to do with electromagnetic waves and auctions. It is far more fundamental: Spectrum is connection.

We will connect. The human drive for connection is too strong to be stopped. The market and the electorate are clamoring for this. Consider just some of
the more obvious changes:

When consumers are connected, we turn off the marketing messages and tell one another the truth about what we buy.

When students are connected, they teach each other and work collaborativelyÖeven if they are still being graded as if each assignment were done alone in a cell.

When citizens are connected, we put our money and our votes with politicians who join the fray. Safe, phony words and please-everyone positions sound more hollow than ever. We want our government to recognize and reflect the values connectedness brings.

When an economy is connected, goods and services move faster. Little players get a foothold against the giants. Innovation skyrockets. Risks are taken and investments are made. The old gatekeepers of connection find their treasure is now a commodity. But that commodity fuels an outbreak of economic
growth that will last for decades.

When a society is connected, it becomes more fair. Broadcasting’s lock on the channels of communication is broken, so more voices are heard and people are better able to determine their own individual and collected fates.

The Age of Connection will begin with a fundamental change in metaphors and a basic reframing of the issues.

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