Early comments and conversations suggest that I didn’t get my point across when discussing the moods and changes of various armed services organisations with respect to emerging technologies.
The point I was trying to make was this:
An integral, essential part of the web as it is today is its writeability, its “liveness”. When you comment on a blog or add an entry to Wikipedia, what you are doing is uploading text. It is no different from what you do when you contribute a photograph to Flickr or a video to YouTube.
This writeability is key. It is what allows conversations to take place, learning to take place, democratised innovation to take place, culture to form and morph. It is what makes today’s web what it is.
You don’t have to participate. But you must have the right to. That is what makes today’s web different from yesterday’s web. Any organisation which seeks to gain value from today’s web needs to understand this. The web is two-way. So when you want to take advantage of YouTube, you need to understand this two-way-ness. And be part of it.
Sure, there is a difference between text and audio and image and video. To us. But not to the computer. As Bob Frankston keeps reminding me, it’s all bits. Nothing else. Deciding not to allow access to YouTube or Flickr or last.fm is a perfectly reasonable thing for the military to do. But that decision is a two-way decision. Neither up nor down. Or both.
That’s what I meant when I saw the “usual suspects being wheeled out”. Argue about security, sure. Argue about money, sure. But don’t argue about the two-way nature of the web and still expect to gain value from it.