A great positive article by Dan Gillmor in his column in the Mercury News. Says some good things. Although I quoted Jun saying this just yesterday, it is 30% easier to sound smart being negative. I think it is significant to try to point out some of the good things going on.
I've been thinking and talking a lot about how consumers are waking up from their semi-conscious state where communication was through buying, voting and rioting to a state where customers could think, act and discuss. Here is a quote from Dan's article that makes this point.
CUSTOMERS AWAKEN: Everyday people are starting to realize that they are not just ``consumers'' but customers -- that is, they are becoming serious participants in the marketplace of goods and services. This is a crucial distinction.Mercury News | 08/18/2002 | Dan Gillmor: Behind economy's dark clouds, here are some silver linings
A consumer's role is limited to ordering what's on the menu and paying for it. A customer wonders what's not on the menu, asks for something he or she actually wants and then negotiates the terms.
This awakening takes many forms, but a common one is the customer's empowerment. Technology is the catalyst.
Prospective customers ignore press releases and product pitches. Instead, they are heading to Web sites where they can research the reality and see what current customers have to say.
Journalism organizations watch, mostly dumbfounded, as weblogs and other multidirectional media bring new voices to the conversation. They offer new choices to what I call the ``former audience,'' the people who are now becoming part of the journalism process itself -- to the ultimate benefit of everyone.