Analyzing The Ongoing Communications Revolution

The last two or three generations have all gone through some form of communications revolution or the other. From the introduction of the telephone, to the early days of the "wireless", the widespread availability of low-cost printing, the ubiquity of broadcast media, all the way to the modern day proliferation of mobile phones, computers, and the Internet. And those are only a few of the technologies that have continued to further empower, enable, and connect people around the world. There are many more.

What is important and relevant to us these days (and to this posting, of course) is the communications revolution that we're going through right now. And, as with every communications revolution, it's not just about the technology, it's about what people are doing with that technology. That is, for example, while it Internet itself is really quite remarkable, what's even more remarkable is what people are doing with it, what they're using it for, and the content they're creating on it.

Recently, Wil Wheaton wrote a good article about all this in his weekly 'Geek in Review' on the Suicide Girls website. He writes:
Communication empowers people, and an empowered people are very, very scary to the powerful upper class who hope that we’ll just go away, right after we buy a lot of crap from them that we don’t need. And holy shit are they scared right now. The revolution may not be televised, but it’s being blogged, YouTubed, MySpaced, Facebooked, Dugg and Netscaped.

The follow-up discussion about that article on his blog is good too.

Phil Plait from the Bad Astronomy Blog then carried the discussion forward by talking about the problems we face when going through revolutions:
Old media (especially movies and radio) are dying, but their death throes are damaging new media too. Wil makes this point about DRM, the RIAA, and other hurtful acronymicious things. They are scared of teh ‘tubes, so they try to make them knuckle under. It’s not working well.

And there's much more discussion about all this on the comments to his posting as well.

My own take on all this mimics what Wil and Phil are saying, of course, but I just wanted to add something that Isaac Asimov wrote in one of his essays (I don't remember which one). He said that it's cool to be living in an age in which you can actually follow the evolutions and revolutions in technology that take place in your own lifetime. Before this, things happened over a number of generations. Nowadays, Moore's Law holds.

And the awesome thing is that, the people who are able to follow these evolutions and revolutions (i.e. those who learn from the past, live in the present, and create the future -- like Phil and Wil), what do they do? They blog, they make websites, they write articles on those websites, they record and freely distribute audio and video netcasts...basically, they use all of these revolutionary technologies to, well, further the revolution. And it's not the technology revolution they're furthering, it's the social one. The one that talks about equity, fairness, honesty, peace, justice, kindness, and so on and so forth. And that, really, is what it's all about.