Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Undoing the Industrial Revolution (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)

Undoing the Industrial Revolution (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox):
"In the physical world, you win by being big, with economies of scale in manufacturing, worldwide distribution, and branding. Most of these benefits accrue even if you're mediocre, and in fact, you usually benefit from targeting the lowest common denominator.

In the virtual world, you win by being good: Automation reduces the benefits of scale, the Internet equalizes distribution, and reputation follows from quality rather than incessantly repeated slogans."
Nielsen's brief essay suggests we are moving away from a centralized model of life that was shaped by the Industrial Revolution to much more narrowly defined communities, communication, products, services, etc. Rather than expanding the number of people in community, he suggests it may decrease it. However, as the geographic definitions of community are replaced, it becomes possible for one to be a part of multiple communities.