A while ago I encountered some articles that suggested that while journalism may still be necessary, newspapers are not. Recently I read a post by Dave Winer in which he highlights a core idea that is similar but offered in a wider context:
The Internet always disintermediates. Did you see the “media” in the middle of that word? It’s the middle that’s hurt in the new world. Sorry. The new world pays the source, indirectly, and obviates the middleman.
What if there is a deeper disintermediation “meta-pattern” taking place – a distillation and purification of the entire idea of mediation? Could it be that online mediators such as Facebook will share a fate not unlike the newspaper industry? that it too is threatened by this “meta-pattern” of disintermediation?
Online services such as Facebook exist in a higher level of abstraction then physical newspapers, but still do have a physical existence they are utilizing to mediate. If you strip down facebook – you will find an online hosting service – maybe one of the worlds largest – but still an online hosting service – instead of paper-mills you they run server-farms (ironi to find the word farms in this context!). It provides hosting based on the same core business-model that newspapers offered – revenues are based on advertising. Facebook is in the same mediation business, and mediation is in crisis!
I wonder, isn’t advertising an ultimate example of mediation? Wouldn’t it be great to see disintermediation sweep through this antiquated, polluting, irrelevant medium and all those who have subscribed to it’s dictums?