The always-wise Russell Davies hits the nail on the head with this one: “As a semi-professional prognosticator I’m always tempted by the rhetorical power of statements like The Internet Is Killing X. But, of course, it isn’t.”
We are all tempted to make statements like this (or at least I know I am). But they’re almost always complete oversimplification’s of what’s really going on, which tends to be that the internet is changing X, maybe to the point where it’s unrecognizable, but most certainly not dead. This also is part of a larger thought I’ve had lately, which is all about us saying things that are wrong because they’re easier to say than actually thinking. I don’t know what to call this behavior (other than lazy), but I feel it constantly. I feel like yesterday’s post about the “changing state of communication” was a perfect example. For all the lip-service we in the marketing industry give to the power of word-of-mouth, when push comes to shove we tend to suggest “blogger outreach” even though we collectively know that if not executed properly it’s a fairly useless endeavor. (Okay, this point might be a little different, but I think there is some connective string there.)
I for one have been struggling with this “internet killing” point with my thoughts around serendipity. The easy explanation is that the web is killing serendipity, pointing us to exactly what we want when we want it. But it’s certainly not that simple, as I run into more stuff that I wasn’t looking for than I could ever imagine without the help of the internet. I guess the problem is that “the internet is subtly changing X” doesn’t make for as good a title.