Blogging and the emerging media ecosystem

It’s a truism that our communications environment is changing. It was ever thus: all ‘old’ media were new media once. But there is something special about our present situation at the beginning of the 21st century. The combination of digital convergence, personal computing and global networking seems to have ratcheted up the pace of development and is giving rise to radical shifts in the environment. Because we are living through this upheaval, it is difficult to take the long view of it. Our problem is not that we are short of data, or even of information; au contraire, we are awash with it, as companies and governments turn to consultants and market researchers for enlightenment or guidance. But the resulting glut of information doesn’t seem to be making us much wiser. Indeed our current state might be best described as one of ‘informed bewilderment’. Part of our difficulty is that we lack a discourse that is appropriate to what is happening. Traditionally, we have drawn linguistic and analytical tools from economics, and as a consequence seek to interpret what is going on through the prism of that dismal science. But economics – at least the economics on which we have relied to date – is the study of the allocation of scarce resources, whereas an important feature of our emerging media environment is abundance, not scarcity.