Just been reading the WSJ announcement of Publicis buying Razorfish. This paragraph struck me as being, well, remarkable:
"As part of the pact, Publicis, which works on behalf of advertisers such as General Motors Corp. and Procter & Gamble Co., will purchase hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising over several years across Microsoft's digital properties, including its newly launched search engine, Bing."
If I was a client at Publicis I'd be asking some rather tough questions of my next media plan.
There's an article in today's New York Times that argues the internet is killing serendipity, the fortunate discovery of something we never knew we wanted to find. Much of the argument is based around the slow disappearance of physical, tangible symbols of culture (books, CDs, etc) and an emerging groupthink within social networks (kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy when people are organizing themselves around common interests I would argue).
This feels like another one of those Andrew Keen et al arguments that the internet is dumbing culture and humanity down, and restricting, rather than liberating, us. I'd tackle Damon's point of view with my own and one I know many of my friends share: without the internet, we'd be far poorer people in terms of the breadth and depth of our experiences. I know I wouldn't have discovered the range and depth of music, film, books, etc. that make my life pretty amazing without the internet. I know, from a work perspective, that planning would still be cast (and practiced) in a rather narrow light than the many different ways being practiced now, built upon the straws of thinking from outside the discipline that we have chanced upon.
More importantly, I think it points to the anomaly in culture that was the last century. We continue to look at the changing world through the lens of our immediate past experience. Taking a broader longitudinal perspective, the behavior we see nowadays - peer to peer relations, friend recommendations, doing stuff with other people - is not new, rather it is how humans have tended to live. The difference is that now the internet has removed geographic and temporal constraints. Let's embrace what technology can do for us, not worry about oddities being discarded. It's an immense force for a better culture, and for helping us live richer lives.