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The Fabric of Resistance
The Fabric of Resistance
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Digital Strangelove (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet)



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This is a collection of thoughts around where we are right now in the history of the Internet. I believe we're getting ahead of ourselves, confusing the growth of the Internet with it growing up, but I also believe we're doing some amazing things, and can draw a few lines in the sand, making some solid guesses on where we are going.

I hope you enjoy =]


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Digital Strangelove (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet)

  1. Digital Strangelove (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying & Love The Internet)
  2. We are a social people. This is not new.
  3. Discussion and stories are as old as time.
  4. Even on the Internet.
  5. Games | News | Community
  6. “…tools don't get socially interesting until they get “Advances don’t become Clay Shirky technologically interesting until they socially become technologically boring” boring.” - Clay Shirky
  7. Once upon a time even paper was impressive.
  8. Invention of flight to mass travel? Flight is not what it was…
  9. The making of music? …nor is the making of music.
  10. From photography to modern film (phones on cameras?) Photography?
  11. What changed?
  12. “…tools don't get socially interesting until they get “Advances don’t become Clay Shirky technologically interesting until they socially become technologically boring” boring.” - Clay Shirky
  13. He’s on to something… Clay Shirky “Advances don’t become socially interesting until they become technologically boring”
  14. From cave paintings…
  15. …TO BLOGS …to blogs.
  16. It has been about human expression and stories. (look for this to continue)
  17. Invention of flight to mass travel? Flight was invented in 1903…
  18. …and the jumbo not until 1970.
  19. The gramophone was invented in 1880…
  20. …AM radio in 1895, FM in 1933…
  21. …but nobody needs (or wants) any of those now.
  22. From photography to modern film (phones on cameras?) The camera came along around 1840 or so.
  23. 150 years later we’re finding new uses.
  24. Film came along around 1895 too…
  25. …100 years on it’s accessible to almost anyone.
  26. But the Internet?
  27. 40 years old, only really about 15 as we know it.
  28. None of these were what they are 40 years in. Let alone 15.
  29. The truth is we’re still figuring this out.
  30. We’re doing some amazing things…
  31. …in a lot of different ways.
  32. But one year to the next is anyone’s guess.
  33. We’re confusing growth with growing up.
  34. Scale is not the same as maturity.
  35. Time to reach audience of 50 million (source: Shift Happens) Radio | 38 years TV | 13 years Internet | 4 years iPod | 3 years Facebook | 2 years Or evolution.
  36. My point being the web is young…
  37. …and we still have a long way to go.
  38. Let’s pause and talk about business for a second.
  39. Is it imperative for a business to have a presence online?
  40. If you answered “No”, I have a flying machine I would like to sell you.
  41. If you answered “Yes”, then please roll the dice and continue playing.
  42. Now, how did we get where we are?
  43. “…classic Mcluhan-esque mistake of appropriating the shape of the previous technology as the content of the new technology.” – Scott Macleod
  44. (i.e. we did what we knew because the alternative was standing still)
  45. In Advertising this meant… Direct Mail Email Billboards Banners And TVCs that continued to talk to you like you were five years old.
  46. (we’ll come back to this in a moment)
  47. “The medium is the message.” - Marshall Mcluhan
  48. ? That may not be true anymore.
  49. We have defined media by the medium it is consumed on, not the media itself.
  50. TV or film? Just video.
  51. Newspaper? Book? Magazine? Just text.
  52. Radio? Albums? Just sound.
  53. ? In which case, we’re dealing with raw expression not altered by its delivery method (i.e. its medium)
  54. I find the absence of silos fairly exciting. And much closer to real life.
  55. It is like the entire media industry was hoisted into the sky and the Internet was placed beneath it…
  56. …destroying the silos and the business models that relied on them.
  57. (which is basically what happened)
  58. Back to our friends on the Avenue.
  59. It no longer makes sense to plant flags. (shamelessly stolen from Faris)
  60. Because nobody recognises them anyway. (again)
  61. We’re still building for this…
  62. Map of Internet traffic Show me the borders. …and sending it out into this…
  63. …as if this had never happened…
  64. …or media was still consumed in a linear fashion.
  65. Consumption and conversation are now hand in hand.
  66. In fact you could argue they’re one and the same.
  67. Which makes the idea of “social” media utterly redundant.
  68. “Media is inherently social. It provides an idea pathway between people.” – Faris Yakob
  69. Talking about platforms misses the point.
  70. It is now as easy to create content as it is to consume it...
  71. …that is the important part of what is happening.
  72. People
  73. expressing
  74. themselves.
  75. That is what the masses are referring to when they say “social media”.
  76. “Media is inherently social. It provides an idea pathway between people.” – Faris Yakob
  77. And the Internet contains all media.
  78. Presenting…THE INTERNET!! (…formerly known as “social media”…which was formerly known as “the Internet”…)
  79. If both the web & media are inherently social, & if business must have a presence online, then business must have a social element. To not have that is to forego both logic & opportunity.
  80. Remember:
  81. expression.
  82. And it is just getting easier.
  83. This is Tumblr – more on that later.
  84. With all this expressing going on, let’s talk about control.
  85. Remember this group? There’s not a whole lot of dictating opinions to them.
  86. They tend to say what they want; they always have. The idea there was once “control” is a fallacy.
  87. “…(engage) with the intent to hear and the intent to consider what those folks are telling you.” - Altitude Branding
  88. Do that and you have as much ability to affect your audience’s perception as you ever did.
  89. Map of Internet traffic Show me the borders. It just happens on a larger scale.
  90. Remember:
  91. expression.
  92. Expression is easy. Creating content is easy.
  93. “It makes increasingly less sense to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem.” - Clay Shirky
  94. This has taken the previous model of content being scarce, media being expensive, and the attention of the audience being guaranteed – and flipped it.
  95. Media (content) = $free. Attention = priceless.
  96. “Strike that – reverse it.”
  97. And herein lies the problem for advertising.
  98. Advertising got really good at speaking in 30 second chunks to a captive audience.
  99. Then quickly found most brands had nothing to say on the 31st.
  100. Attention Traditional Attention Media Attention Attention And couldn’t operate once this…
  101. …became this.
  102. See, advertising is based on interruption.
  103. See, advertising is based on interruption.
  104. Thankfully we can now do this.
  105. We can do this because we’re dealing with bits, not atoms.
  106. We can do this because media is now based in bits and not atoms. Which is why this is happening.
  107. (…and this…)
  108. This disruption is happening and will continue to happen in any industry that is “end-to-end digital”. - Fred Wilson
  109. So, given it’s ubiquity, does it even make sense to talk about “digital” anymore? I don’t think so, and I’m not alone.
  110. “Increasingly I'm finding the word 'digital’ more of a hindrance than a help. It's too broad to mean anything.” – Faris Yakob
  111. “Digital is not a ‘thing’ anymore.” – Iain Tait
  112. So, let’s talk about nothing.
  113. If attention is priceless, then the attention economy is out of business.
  114. So now we operate in the “Intention Economy”
  115. The Intention Economy says “We’re not here for you, we’re here for US!”
  116. “If I tell my Facebook friends about your brand, it is because I like my friends – not because I like your brand!” – Mike Arauz
  117. “You are what you share.” – Charles Leadbeater
  118. What do we share?
  119. STORIES
  120. Slide on popular memes.
  121. Slide on popular memes.
  122. Slide on popular memes.
  123. Slide on popular memes.
  124. This has nothing to do with “influencers”.
  125. Influenced however? Yes.
  126. “We see influence (what folk do to each other on our behalf) where emulation (of what folk around us are doing) is the real mechanic behind the spread of human behaviour.” - Mark Earls
  127. It’s about synergies in your audience.
  128. It’s about synergies in your audience.
  129. It’s about synergies in your audience.
  134. “I don't have to control the conversation to benefit from their interest in my product. The key is to produce something that both pulls people together and gives them something to do.” – Henry Jenkins
  135. A note on User Generated Content…
  136. It stops working when people try to control it.
  137. What agencies and brands have done is try to co-opt passion for an activity and artificially focus it with incentives. (suffice to say this has blown up spectacularly at times)
  138. Agency found BMW photos on Flickr.
  139. Agency found BMW photos on Flickr. Contacted photographers for use.
  140. Agency found BMW photos on Flickr. Contacted photographers for use. Asked them to sign away rights.
  141. Agency found BMW photos on Flickr. Contacted photographers for use. Asked them to sign away rights. Said no attribution would be given.
  142. Slide on popular memes. Remember memes?
  143. Slide on popular memes. Here’s another.
  144. “As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  145. Attention Traditional Attention Media Attention Attention Advertising’s approach to UGC was as if this still mattered…
  146. …and now we know it doesn’t.
  147. It nailed the methods, foregoing principles...
  148. …while the principles themselves were self-evident.
  149. “I don't have to control the conversation to benefit from their interest in my product. The key is to produce something that both pulls people together and gives them something to do.” – Henry Jenkins
  151. So, where to from here?
  152. 2 things: Data Meaning 2 things: Data and Meaning.
  153. 1. Data is the bank.
  154. “Create more value than you capture.” – Tim O’Reilly
  155. More data will be shared more openly.
  156. We’re seeing this change in business now, from who has the most data, to who can derive the most meaning
  157. Tumblr (aka “next year’s Twitter”) is all about data and meaning.
  158. 1. Data is the bank.
  159. 2. Meaning is the Currency
  160. Remember meaning? That is where $ is.
  161. Google acquires DoubleClick | $3.1 billion Adobe acquires Omniture | $1.8 billion Google acquires YouTube | $1.5 billion Microsoft acquires aQuantive | $6 billion WPP acquires 24/7 Real Media | $649 million Acquisitions based on data+meaning
  162. Nike+ is all about data+meaning.
  163. So is…
  164. …and Twitter Search (look for a deal with Google or Microsoft shortly).
  165. AUDIENCE AUDIENCE That connection we talked about earlier? BRAND
  166. AUDIENCE AUDIENCE BRAND It’s sticking around, growing and changing and becoming something new.
  167. INTENT can drive data+meaning.
  168. You can keep the big ideas, the single- minded proposition, and whatever else you had that worked…
  169. …here.
  170. They don’t belong here.
  171. “People have a really good ability to see through you (and the) projects on the Internet that are just done to try and make you famous.” – Christian Lander
  172. “What we need are gems and diamond- cutters.” – Katie Chatfield
  173. Now > Later Free > Paid Your intent is framed by the way you deliver value.
  174. I call this The Three Musketeers rule.
  175. All for One or One for All
  176. All For One is 20th century value creation. It is driven by self-interest & excelled in the silos.
  177. One For All is how businesses thrive today. When they create value for themselves, they create value for an eco-system.
  178. What should you value here?
  179. Free?
  180. Free
  181. Now
  182. Now Given a choice between FREE and NOW, people will surprise you.
  183. File-sharing down among teens (find story)
  184. Which is actually the reason MP3s became so popular in the first place.
  185. And Flip video cameras.
  186. Healthcare And it’s about to turn a bunch of other industries on their heads too.
  187. It is called the “Good Enough Revolution”, and it is not a conversation about features.
  188. It is a conversation about benefits.
  189. Now Free
  190. Now Paid
  191. Later Free
  192. Later Paid
  193. Now Now Free Paid Later Later Free Paid
  194. Figuring out which spot you occupy is one thing, figuring out where your competition sits is another.
  195. Now Free If your business model can subsist on this sort of offering, it makes life much easier.
  196. Now Paid Odds are however it occupies this space, and it’s important to have a paid space.
  197. Remember Fred? He also coined the term “Freemium”.
  198. Now Now Free Paid Freemium combines these two things; build an audience with Free, use it to develop a premium product for Paid.
  199. You can augment Now with the promise of Later, be it future content, a subscription, whatever makes sense for your business. Later Later Free Paid
  200. If the position you occupy however is only Later, prepare to be obsolete. Later Later Free Paid
  201. Chance is you already are… Later Later Free Paid
  202. …here…
  203. …which is more relevant than here…
  204. …because so much of our life is now “end-to-end digital”.
  205. As the Internet matures, we’ll tackle these things…
  206. …expression will continue to get easier…
  207. …and it will all start to make more sense.
  208. Slide on popular memes. (…probably…)
  209. We’ll stop talking about screens...
  210. Now …and just talk about…well…you get the idea.
  211. The future is data+meaning.
  212. And a Statement of Intent will guide us.
  213. Intent is about hidden meaning. About deeper truth. About DNA.
  214. This is marketing. This is DNA.
  215. “New DNA…lets today’s new market leaders perceive, think, judge, & execute (vastly) more efficiently, effectively, & productively than the norm, leading directly to new sources of advantage.” – Umair Haque
  216. Slide on popular memes. Intent is never just marketing.
  217. But everything we’ve used up to this point is, from the single-minded proposition on down.
  218. Intent is guerilla warfare. It is multifaceted.
  219. “What we need are gems and diamond- cutters.” – Katie Chatfield
  220. When asked how he expected to continue Apple’s stock performance, Steve Jobs said “We intend to keep innovating.”
  221. A note on Apple.
  222. The making of music? This is about facilitating expression.
  223. The making of music? The intent is to get out of the way and let people express themselves.
  224. The intent of an Apple product is to be invisible, & amplify its user’s self-expression.
  225. Which is why they are adored.
  226. Even though they do not, as a corporate entity, interact with their consumers outside of a retail context.
  227. i.e. They do not participate in “social media”.
  228. (cue light bulb)
  229. The synergies in your audience?
  232. AUDIENCE AUDIENCE BRAND Connect your audience & tell their story.
  233. AUDIENCE AUDIENCE AUDIENCE AUDIENCE And then they will tell yours. BRAND
  234. Because they will be the same thing.
  235. Don’t compartmentalise. Nobody lives like that.
  236. Don’t think about channel strategies. Think about intent.
  237. And forget about silos. There are none left.
  238. Map of Internet traffic Show me the borders. Just stories.
  239. Thank you.
  240. Photo credits & references… A very special thank-you to the…the smart people behind compfight. 99% of all images were sourced with it. A big thanks also to the talented Flickr community who embrace Creative-Commons licensing. I have done my best to attribute each picture to its author, as well as a quote if I used one. If I have made a mistake please contact me ( and I will correct it. If I have used an image of yours and you would like me to take it out, please also drop me a line and I will remove it. I will also encourage you to have a Coke and a smile. You can find me at the following places: David| Twitter | LinkedIn And when not thinking about this stuff, I play music and wish I lived in New York City. If you can help make that happen, I’m all ears. Thank you for your time, I really appreciate it, and I’d love to hear what you think.
  241. Cover: Random Literature Council #20: Kalapan Taras (have name, #2: Shoothead can’t find link) #3: Rob Gallop #21: Mark Sebastien #4: Shamelessly stolen from #22: Steve Wampler The New Yorker #24: Jim Christian #5: Shots of Penny Arcade, Digg & #25: Work The Angles 4Chan. #27: Mouton.Rebelle #6: Benjamin Ellis #30: Balloonacy by the brilliant #7: Diffendale team at Poke #8: The Wright Brothers. Frankly (P.S. Can I have a job?) I’m betting on this one being #31: Have you been hiding under a out of ©, apologies if it isn’t. rock? #9: It’s OK, Steve said I could. #32: World of Warcraft #10: *Kicki* #33: @davidgillespie #11: Eflon #34: A hungover-me with Riley #15: The genius that is Scott Smart, future mofo. Schuman, aka The Sartorialist #35: yoheiyamashita #19: John M (2007) #37: niznoz
  242. #38: John Spooner #52: Valerie Reneé #39: Web Trends Map 4 from the #53: Rudolf Schuba talented and lovely #56, 58: My handy-work. I know – Information Architects amazing!!! #40: Jeff McNeil #60: Faris Yakob is your man. #41: He’s been dead a long time. #61: See #60. #42: v@lentina #62: National Geographic. They’re #43: Jon Tandy not litigious are they? #44: Scott McCloud’s TED talk #63: The Opte Project featuring this quote is a must- #64: Stolen from @timbeveridge watch. #69: Picture of Faris. No idea where #44a: I SAID MUST WATCH!!! it came from. #45: cayusa #73: *ZOom2 #46: Raúl! #79: marciookabe #48: This is Marshall Mcluhan. I #80: Glasses, teeth by me. have no idea where it came #82: Prince symbol. He’s not from. litigious either I’m told… #51: lorenabuena #86: Scott Drummond’s Posterous
  243. #87: My Tumblr. And I want Oasis’ #119: Pic by Wordle, of my blog. Live Forever, OK? Intention Economy dreamed up by #88: Myxi Doc Searls. GENIUS! #100: Stephen Poff #120: Richard Holden #101: If you don’t get this reference #121: No idea who took this. Help! there is no child inside you. #125: evanrapp #102: Marty Neumeier (GENIUS!) #126, 127: Know Your Meme #103: Stuck In Customs #128: Steve Rhodes #104: ƒяαиcєscα яσsє #129: Print by Tim Doyle – GENIUS! #111, 112: Shamelessly stolen from #130: Sangre en el hombro de Palas Did You Know 4.0 #131: Again, Know Your Meme #113: Random photo of the very #132: Barack Obama handsome Fred Wilson (Fred, #135: Various Adidas billboards please see P.S. on #30) #136: Converse, innit. #115: Moustache, also by me. #137: Red Bull #116: Nick Farnhill #143: Pic. Quote by Henry Jenkins, #117: People…they’re the worst! GENIUS!. #118: Reuben Whitehouse #144: Vanderlin
  244. #148: estoril | More on BMW. #192: Rusty Stewart #154: Fail. Consume with epic lulz. #201: Revolution Magazine #159: Gauravonmics #204: Shamelessly stolen from #164: joelwillis Wired’s Good Enuf #165: Ken Wilcox. Revolution – GENIUS! #166: Visit #227: Cha già José #167: takeshi | #230: littledan77 Tim O’Reilly – GENIUS! #231: Sifu Renka #168: Baptiste Pons #233: psd | #172: pfala Umair Haque – GENIUS! #174: Hugh McLeod – GENIUS! #235: Hugh McLeod (see #174) #188: Pic. Christian Lander’s great #236: piettroizzo @Google Talk where the #238: shio quote was shamelessly #239: Julian Nistea stolen from. #242: powerbooktrance #189: jurvetson | #243: ThiagoMartins Katie Chatfield quote #244: manuel | MC #191: Indie Charlie #246: Cayusa