THE INTERNET VS CREATIVES
"more creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is actually flowing to creators and owners of the content."
I recently came across a Forbes article exploring the demystification of the perils of the modern digital space as told by author Jonathan Taplin. While his new book “Move fast and break things” may tackle the web industry in general, Taplin takes direct aim at Amazon, Facebook and Google siting convincing intelligence that the three has been slowly chipping away at human creativity and democracy.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jon Taplin you’d perhaps question his authority on the subject matter. Taplin's areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. You would then be pleased to understand that for half of a century Jon Taplin has dedicated himself to a career in managing musicians, media mergers and acquisitions, creating films and a host of other works that contributes directly to this his latest plythe.
Move Fast And Break things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon cornered culture and undermined democracy is a stinging polemic that traces the destructive monopolization of the internet by google, facebook and amazon. It’s a terrific account on how the original decentralized vision of the internet in the 1990s has morphed into an industry controlled by monopolistic companies that wield inordinate influence over the future of music, film, television, book publishing, and journalism.
Taplin’s book echoes a fervent clarion call registered and understood by creative content creators who’s been ignorantly exposed to a biting economic ploy buried within our most used internet platforms and services. According to Taplin more creative content is being consumed than ever before, but less revenue is actually flowing to creators and owners of the content.The book heralds Facebook, Amazon and Google as vessels for a sort of fast-fashion epidemic where their mission promises to serve we the end users first but apparently not best. It's about the commercial watering down of art through technology. How we’re taking the great invention of the web to fatten our pockets which comes with a simultaneous erosion of consequences that destroys the Web’s existential purpose; to decentralize power and create open access for all people.
This concerns even the very inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee. Tim created the ‘The Web’ between 1989-1991 to use the internet (created in the 60’s) to help computers communicate more seamlessly. For clarity the internet is the system of networks that allows every computing device to communicate with each other.The world wide web is an information system (a platform) that links information in central locations across the internet. You access these central locations or web pages/websites through web browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer etc.) The world wide web is a model with infinite potential in how and to what it may be applied. Here enters the concept of applications or ‘apps’ as we know. Facebook, Amazon and Google all take the form of websites and apps used world wide.
So now that we all understand the importance of Tim Berners-Lee to technology we should at least be beginning to understand and explore the insight Jon Taplin provides on the wayward progression of the web engendered by companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google.
"The web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles," Berners-Lee said. "The web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles."
Berners-Lee also criticised companies that opt to build mobile or desktop applications, such as Apple's iTunes or smartphone apps, rather than create apps that sit on the web alongside other websites. "Open standards drive innovation," he said, adding that the tendency for publishers to create apps for smartphones such as the iPhone is "disturbing". If you remember, Instagram was one such app that was squarely accessible only through an iPhone - a total undemocratic condition.
Many may argue that this is simply the give and take we must endure if we want the spoils of inventions like the world wide web and it’s advancement to serve us. But does that mean we should close our eyes tightly as Facebook, Amazon, Google and more tech companies like them continue to exploit the web’s billions of users for profit first?
Ten years ago the debut of ideas like facebook and itunes were seen as saving graces for independent creators looking for more and better opportunities to share their work and profit. It was empowering and useful. Now it's slowly proving to be imprisoning, counter-productive and self-serving.
This exploration is not meant to scare you or demean these companies. It’s meant to make transparent the space we now exist in and tell the truth about where our society may end up if we don’t appropriately refix ourselves on the right side of progress in tech and entertainment. For creators in specific, Jon Taplin’s book is very important. The conversation it’s starting is very important. The digital economy is hurting creativity and the web is becoming less and less of a safe place to create, share and profit.
Jon, you’ve got my attention.
Want to explore further? Read this insightful interview between the Author Jon Taplin and Tech site ‘Fast Company’. READ HERE