The last class session. left me with that classic feeling of “Now I know how much I don’t know.” From the student summaries of “Wikinomics” and “Here Comes Everybody,” these books seemed to be further takes on the mass-collaboration, non-market driven production model advanced in “Wealth of Networks” and “The Future of the Internet.” I’ve certainly come to understand this phenomenon in this class, but I’m as skeptical as ever that mass participation paradigm is going to mature into an enduring threat to profit-driven enterprises. In hindsight, a model that I wished we had discussed are the t-shirt and sneaker companies who solicit designs from their customer community and then have the community vote on the winners, who are then compensated. Not exactly collaboration, but it does tap into one of the driving forces of network production – the gratification that participants derive from contributing. Plus, it adds the profit incentive for the competitors and “American Idol” component of getting to vote.
“We Are All Journalists Now” is a concept I have more trouble with, so perhaps I should read it. If all bloggers are journalists, then “journalist” loses its meaning, anyone can demand a press pass, and a mafia soldier could start a blog and refuse to testify in a murder trial under the premise of protecting his journalistic sources.
Along with my skepticism about the viability of networked production, I left the class with a greater curiosity for the potential of net-based market-driven production models.