Monday, February 28, 2011

American Pain

Here's some paranoid half-baked thoughts:

Oh to be the guy who had a great idea but didn't know how to capitalize on it. Great ideas sometimes die on the vine.

I've been thinking about Twitter. Simple idea, simple software... a plan had to be put in place to scale it as it gained users, that's probably the largest technical hurdle... but for the most part it's value is created entirely by its users not its designers.

Crowdsourcing is a new term that's being thrown around in the media. It probably was first created by a journalist for a technology magazine like WIRED.

Crowdsourcing... it sounds benign. Blogspot is doing it now. I'm helping it to "Crowdsource". They use my contribution to add value to this service. Crowdsourcing is like a mass unpaid internship.

Most people rationalize blogging as self promotion or exposure for their work, but is it really that useful? Broadcasting yourself to masses of people like this hoping somebody with connections will find you and start you on your career; is that a fair way to look at it? Is that just cynicism? Writing for free? Working for free? Are services like this simply intellectual capital for tech companies. Will artistic work be devalued like blue collar work? We have machines and robots that are making blue collar labor irrelevant... is this happening now to artists with Internet services like the one I'm using right now? Are we all pouring our creative impulses into digital artifacts, send them into the cloud, and the new masters of the universe... the people who own the technological backdoors to filter, sort, and select this information are they going to play nice? Will they keep that value, if it is real value, to themselves? Will career creative types become a thing of the past? Will professions like writer and illustrator just become avocations again? Will we all be working retail at big box stores while writing and painting at night to feed the creativity cloud and getting nothing for it in return?

Doom, gloom, and paranoia.

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