The Great Restructing – For the Information Age

For all things Spot.Us – I will quickly remind folks that the project has its own blog where we are updating regularly. I will update here on occasion but will still keep this as my personal blog.

This post will be a little on the academic side – but it’s something that has been formulating in my head for some time and was recently inspired to spit out. In fact, I can point to the post when this started bubbling in the dome above my shoulders. “Editors and Publishes in a Battle Against Inertia” – which I wrote in January.

I avoid the “old media vs. new media” debate. But I do have some constructive criticism for both sides 😉  – And here’s that criticism for old media….

Newspapers are industrial age institutions. We are leaving the industrial age and entering the information age. Organizations that don’t radically restructure will always be two steps behind.

For many this is nothing earth-shattering. What I’d like to add to this, however, is the simple idea that newspapers have been the canary in the coal mine. While newspapers are hitting the free fall, the rest of the world is only just catching up with us. Since journalism is the exchange of information it makes sense that this industry would start to feel the shift first and perhaps hardest. But information has been a vital part of any industry – and therefore none are safe.

Put this concept (industrial age institutions in an information age) in context and we can start to see what is happening in industries around the country. The auto-industry, education, medical, and even the government (from the federal down to the city level) – all need to be restructured for the information age.

I went to an IScott meeting (Interdepartmental Staff Committee of Traffic and Transportation) in San Francisco last week. This is a meeting twice a month between different department heads to discuss street closures, traffic, etc. It includes the police department, transportation, dept. of recreation, city council, etc.

Afterwards I wondered how these department heads kept in touch between meetings. Google Docs? I doubt it.

Could efficiency be increased if they all had blogs and understood RSS? Most likely. If they wanted to be private – perhaps a simple Yahoo or Google group? Or a wiki. The tools are out there.

From the small city government to the pentagon, our country needs to be organized for the information age. Newspapers need to make that re-invention as well and I believe they are aware of it. We aren’t sure what a news organization looks like in the information age. It might even be the case that there is no news ‘organization’ but rather – news platforms. We are still waiting to find out.

One could say that Google is the first great company to make this shift. In that sense they are positioned to be the Ford of the information age.

The good news in all this: The sky is not falling, but the ground IS shifting. Those that don’t get a good footing could fall through the cracks, just as many did when the industrial age came around.

(Hat tip to Chris Pirillo and the Twickie tool he made which allowed me to easily do this.)

Digidave: Quote/question of the night: Child labor is to the industrial revolution as X is to the information revolution… Send your snark this way.

about 9 days ago

soozanj: As indian call centers are to the information revolution. (no snark intended)

about 9 days ago

SamuelJay: “Child labor is to the industrial revolution, as copyright suits are to the information revolution.”

about 9 days ago

SamuelJay: also: “Child labor is to the industrial revolution, as rich publishers are to the information revolution.”

about 9 days ago

fobes: Not snark; but wondering what dreams capture us? Ind. Rev gave us? Info/internet rev, like a siren, lures w/ ? open source&collab?

about 9 days ago

joeybaker: child labor is to the Indust. Rev. as convergence (co. death)is to the Info age

about 9 days ago

Picture 1Picture 2

mattmireles: Are you saying that child labor increased or decreased because of the industrial revolution? My guess is that it went down…

about 4 minutes ago

cabara: Child labor is to the industrial revolution as word people are to the information revolution. (Bloggers should be paid!)

about 3 minutes ago

joeterrell: Child labor is to the industrial revolution as pornography is to the information revolution… (is that the answer?)

about 2 minutes ago

billdinTO: As intern labour is to the info rev / as contract/casual labour is to the info rev.

about a minute ago

amabaie: cubicle dwellers (“cubicle rats”?, “cubicle moles”?)

33 seconds ago

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