The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

Whoever pays for your information, owns it

Walking into a bookseller and handing over cash for a book would, to most, make me the owner of that book. I can do what I like with that book ... within certain boundaries. The "intellectual rights" contained within that book are not mine, they are still the authors.

This is well understood by most.

However, the very fact that, at some point, someone other than the author is going to own the book has a very large effect on that book. The cover is designed to stimulate certain potential book owners, the price is set at a level that potential book owners can afford and the books are placed in surroundings that potential book owners frequent are in the frame of mind to purchase (we call them "book shops").

Another more subtle effect is upon the author.

The author can, of course write whatever they like, however they like and some indeed do.

The majority of authors maintain a very focussed eye upon the potential book owner and are writing for them. They will tailor the language used, the structure applied and even the themes and subject matter discussed. And fair enough, because they want potential book owners to become actual book owners.

So what has this to do with "online collaboration"?
Everything.

When you write a blog article, edit a wiki page, comment on a forum are you thinking of the person that is paying for that information? Are you considering the future owner of your thoughts?

"Hang on Mike, no-one pays for information on the Web, it's all free - just look at your own blog!?!" True, very few services expect a monetary transaction before you can get at the information. However, there is always a cost involved. You have paid for this blog article with:
  • your time
  • your attention
  • your thinking
  • your "not being able to do other stuff"
You/we have paid and we will always pay for information.
And having paid for the information, it is yours. This is your article. The "intellectual rights" remain mine but it behaves just like a book from a book shop.

So next time you put pen to paper/tap on a keyboard think about the future owners of your creation as I suspect we have a much larger percentage of online James Joyce's than should be allowed.

Think of the reader!

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