Gutenberg effects

· The Power of Many

Clay Shirky has again put good phrases to a phenomenon (Moblogging from the front and the new Reformation): we are learning to live in a “fully disclosed culture.”

I remember hearing about the security efforts being put into place around delivery of Ken Starr’s Whitewater (Lewinsky) report as it was delivered, and thought “Why are they bothering? It will be in the web in 48 hours…” I was wrong, of course — it was on the web the next day. Now I hear that military officials are debating whether to release other photos with evidence of American torture of Iraqis, and I wonder again why they are bothering. If the images exist, they will be released. It’s a fantasy to assume that they can re-assert control of the spread of images by fiat. …

At a guess, filtered versus unfiltered information, in many settings and particularly around control of audio and visuals as opposed to words, is going to precipitate the same sort of conflict [as the Protestant Reformation]. (The music industry is a canary in that particular coal mine.)

… [I]t’s a safe bet that we are entering a world of “That will kill this.” We just don’t know what parts of society “this” refers to yet.