return Home

The founders of the Internet have grown up. Isn't it time the Internet did the same?

I was reading an amusing article in This is Money over the weekend that I suspect many mothers and fathers (and grand-parents) will understand. Nothing is more fatal to parental authority than having to ask the offspring for computer help. 

 

The social network ()

Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake in The Social Network

 

And it’s true. Rarely do I have the opportunity to hold one over my wonderful mum… but the computer, the glorious computer, presents me with that rare opportunity for the apprentice to become the master!

My mum rushes to the tired old defence of: “You’re lucky, it’s only because you happen to have been born in the thick of the computer age that dealing with these problems comes as second nature to you.”

Are we lucky?

What’s interesting is there is another side to this argument: we have grown up in the online barter economy, but never actually realised that we were bartering ourselves.

My mother has sent letters in the post, made calls from a landline and printed photos to store in binders. All costing her money. Some of you reading this will even laugh at the concept of renting films or buying CDs!

All these services were digitalised, legally or illegally, and offered at a time when a whole generation was at its most cash strapped. I remember huddling around a tiny laptop in my first year at university, watching the latest episode of The OC on DC++ (essentially an illegal precursor to Netflix).

Or leaving my computer on overnight to download a new album from Napster (abused precursor of Spotify, set up by the famous Sean Parker). Those that created, or could find and access such services, were not deemed as thieves but savvy users who could bend the web to their wills like Neo bends the Matrix (really showing my age with that reference).

To us, the web was open access. We had never been told otherwise, and it never crossed our minds that this was little different to the fake DVDs or sunglasses that we are all quick to turn our noses up at. Why pay for a service that was being offered for free by someone else?

But the times, they are a changin’…

The founders of the first Internet companies are growing up, and the web is growing up with them. Seamlessly symbolised with Sean Parker’s transition from Napster bad-boy to board member of tech unicorns Facebook and Spotify.

But what is really fascinating to observe is that users of the web are growing up too. As we start to understand the barter exchange we unwittingly entered into, we start to value ourselves and our data versus the services we are accessing.

Advertisers and publishers need to ensure that there is a fair value exchange for their consumers, or expect to lose them.

 

More like this

The warning signs are there, but are we looking?

Media buyers should be more like pension managers

  • If only publishers followed the ASA mantra...

    At first glance it’s not immediately apparent that the Advertising Standards Authority mantra –‘legal, honest, decent and truthful’ – is relevant to today’s premium publishing world. It’s advertisers, publishers might argue, that should take their share of the blame for the mess that is today’s online publishing environment.

    11th Jul 2018 Opinion
  • The circle of life

    Is my six-year-old nephew smarter than the media industry? It’s a ridiculous and somewhat surprising question to be asking myself after a weekend playing in Battersea Park and watching the Lion King with my little nephews. The question you are probably asking yourself is am I the modern-day version of Simba’s uncle, Scar – by inflicting such an emotional rollercoaster of a film on such young children?

    29th Jun 2018 Opinion
  • Innovations in AI will help publishers increase dwell time and engagement

    We humans thrive on information. The new, the interesting, the useful and the entertaining all have a seductive power to engage our curious brains and help us make the intelligent decisions that have enabled our species to succeed. 

    27th Jun 2018 Opinion
  • Behind The Economist's first graphic novel on Instagram

    A couple of weeks ago, The Economist published a graphic novel on Instagram, called "Data Detectives". The production of the piece was a group effort involving Oliver Morton, senior editor and briefings editor; Jon Fasman, Washington DC correspondent; Rob Gifford, Britain correspondent, Stephen Petch, art director, Ria Jones, digital and social media picture editor, Ben Shmulevitch, editorial designer; Matt Withers, graphic designer and Simon Myers, freelance graphic designer and illustrator. 

    9th Jul 2018 Features
  • Can slow journalism march on… slowly?

    As news cycles speed up, 'slow' journalism seems to be slowing down. These days, to don the robe of a slow journalist, deadlines - and even scoops - are negated in seeking out accuracy, proportionality, fairness and, it seems Pulitzer prizes. An employer that can afford to pay a journalist an annual salary to tell one in-depth story  a year may come in handy too.

    9th Jul 2018 Features
  • Hearst UK launches new digital metric to demonstrate content engagement quality for commercial partners

    Hearst UK has launched a new metric to demonstrate the engagement quality of digital branded content for its commercial partners.

    9th Jul 2018 Insight News
  • Gruner + Jahr launches Gala in Greece

    Gala is now available, through a license agreement, as a weekly supplement to the Sunday edition of Greek newspaper Proto Thema. The editor-in-chief is Jenny Agiandriti, who previously served as editor-in-chief of the Greek editions of Thema People and Grazia. 

    9th Jul 2018 Launches
  • Take part in the Distripress Circulation Monitor 2018 survey

    The Distripress Circulation Monitor (DCM) is in its fifth year. The report is commissioned by Distripress, the international press distribution organisation, to provide companies involved in the cross-border sales of newspapers and magazines, with quality insight in to the performance of the global market for press distribution and the factors affecting trading. 

    9th Jul 2018 Insight News
Go to Full Site