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Take a look at this pyramid:

Although I drew this picture from a random website, it outlines the primeval internet contribution proportions perfectly.  Notice I said “primeval”?  Yeah, I’m referring to “primeval” as only a couple years ago.

Long lost are the days of those “primeval” online communities.  The development of Andrew Weinberger’s philosophy in the past couple years has gripped and taken the internet by force.

News is a conversation.

The 90 percent Lurkers are in the past: in the new age of technology everyone participates.  The web is comprised of a massive amount of contributors- young, old, white, black- if you have an opinion, you have a place in the web.

The aforementioned is not to imply that contributors are the only thing that’s changed on the internet.  The online community is handed specialized, personal, communal content on a silver platter.

Picture a point guard in basketball: he has specific leadership qualities.  He’s on the shorter side and quick.  But, he’s also a part of a bigger picture- the entire basketball team.

Internet content is a lot like the point guard.  Now the web isn’t one big team, but rather “fragmented”  into smaller teams.  For example, social networking, One Tree Hill, and fantasy football are all different teams.  And what’s one thing each team has in common?

To be the best.

So let’s throw it out there: Apple, Inc. is one of the best teams in the market today.  There are forums and discussions dedicated to their success as well as demise.  There are hundreds upon hundreds of articles that mention the company.  And it’s huge popularity has people at the edge of their seats wanting more and more.

It should come as no surprise that Apples cutting edge technology has transformed from a “luxury  item” to a “must have necessity”.

“Dad, I need an Iphone to do my homework” is just one of the many articles touching on the Iphone addiction.  Another Apple customer has the worst problem of all- his 3 year old daughter has already proved her obsession when she wakes up from her naps whispering, “Where’s my Iphone?”

This world of personalized applications, Iphone-reliant individuals, and web-contributing fiends has sucked the reality out of our society.  I’d like to take this time to confirm that yes, Apple has been a key-player in this transition.

The Apple community can be considered a distracted bunch.  The company’s technology is like the “shiny shiny”, “hey look over here” Aldous Huxley concept.

You thought the “1984” (Orwell) governmental tyranny concept was bad?  Well what say you when we’re all too distracted by the Iphone 6 to notice reality deteriorating all around us?

Running around the house.  Prancing.  Dancing.  Singing.  This was my childhood; your childhood; perhaps even your parents’ childhood.  I could recite line for line and reenact the entire Lion King Movie by the time I entered Kindergarten.  It’s okay if Pocahontas or Beauty and The Beast was your favorite.  Everyone has a favorite Disney movie.

Everyone.

The aforementioned can be labeled as “name recognition.”  Walt Disney Corporation, founded in October 1923 by the very famous Walt Disney has been with many of us all our lives.  A small breakdown of Walt Disney Co’s expansion below will show you just how long…

-Mickey Mouse (1930’s)

-Disneyland (1955)

-DisneyWorld (1971)

-EuroDisney (1992)

-Tokyo Disney (2000)

-Hong Kong Disney (2005)

Remember this: Disney has been around since the 1930’s.  Now think about this- the World Wide Web was invented in 1991.  So how did Disney survive for those 60+ years?  Easy.  It’s old fashion.  Before the web, Disney had reached every media outlet- magazines, shorts, T.V. shows, and movies.  In addition, the theme parks Disneyland and DisneyWorld made Disney a “tangible” concept.  Everything that its publics had known about Disney came to life by 1955.

Mickey Mouse is and has always been synonymous with Walt Disney.  The two go hand in hand like PB&J.  Icons like Mickey Mouse and Cinderella’s castle are what has built Disney’s magic over the past 80+ years.  The introduction of international theme park’s like Tokyo Disney has caused this overwhelming influx of followers world wide.

One can agree that Disney uses the internet for things such as advertisements, travel reservations, children’s entertainment, and much more.  But, it certainly hasn’t meant the digression of the use of other media outlets.  Besides, why would Disney leave behind all the medium’s that have helped build up its corporation since its creation?

Imagine this:  With the invention of the World Wide Web in 1991, Disney has decided to eliminate all Disney movies, TV shows, and books.

Yeah right.  I hope you’re laughing at such a silly idea.

So many companies in the corporate world nowadays are folding to those traditional media outlets because of the internets growing power.  We can all simultaneously nod our heads when I say that Disney isn’t just another corporate company.  Each time the internet “strikes” those corporate giants, a few go weak at the knees and crumble, but Disney on the other hand has seen its profits rise again and again in this millennium because of those TRADITIONAL MEDIA OUTLETS (i.e. TV shows, movies, etc.)

Don’t misconstrue the message here: Disney can thank the internet for some of its success, but it’s the name recognition Walt Disney Corporation carries as well as its reliance on tradition that have led the way.  Disney has gone from a national entity to a world wide collaboration.

Believe it or not, Disney will survive the next blow if ever the internet fails.  It will not lose focus of its mission.  It will not suffer from internet withdrawal.  And it will not trick itself into self-combusting because of a “network error” sign.

Disney, is truly timeless.

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.

-Walt Disney

There’s something unwavering about my OJ and Portuguese sausage omelet at my Ken’s House of Pancakes back home.  The OJ has a tartness to it that’s unique and irreplaceable.  The Portuguese sausage omelet at Ken’s has the perfect amount of “fluffiness” and the signature pride of its creator is subtle enough to be appreciated.

Can you imagine the corporate giant that is Ihop knocking on Ken’s door with a note saying, “We bought you out, so there’s a new sheriff in town.  Sorry.”?  All of a sudden the OJ is too watery and the fluffy omelet filled with Portuguese sausage is no longer on the menu.  Ihop’s “generous” substitution is an all too ordinary bacon omelet made from frozen bacon?!

This problem will surely be confronted.  I’ll put in a request for my Portuguese sausage omelet and pungent OJ to the Ihop manager only to get a response similar to this, “We can order it special for you, seeing as we don’t make that omelet anymore.  But, it’s going to cost you an extra $5.00 for the order.”

I guess the glory days of Ken’s will surely be over the day I have to result to “special” requests from Ihop’s more than generic menu.

Put this into prospective:  The Portuguese sausage omelet and OJ are Google.  Ihop is your current Internet service provider.  And the bacon omelet and watery OJ is Yahoo.  Things are not as bad as they could be on the world-wide web… yet.

The idea is that ISP’s like AT&T (the one in hot water now) have the power to block its users from Google if it has a more beneficial and financial interest in Yahoo.  That agreement between AT&T and Yahoo can easily slow down or altogether block your access to Google.  Now, broaden the idea.  What if every ISP did the same as AT&T?

It would literally be WW3 because the average Joe’s would be degraded to snail-pace internet access and not even the Federal Communications Commission would be able to step in and say “enough is enough”.

So where’s that American concept of power with the checks and balances system?

It actually comes in the form of the Net Neutrality (N.N.) system, which is currently only taking baby steps forward.  With N.N., greedy bully’s like AT&T wouldn’t be able to control the world-wide web or its content providers like Youtube, Skype and Google.

Only drawback is that N.N. hasn’t been passed through Congress, so the FCC really doesn’t have any legal backbone to keep service providers in check.

Besides, hasn’t the signature of the Internet always been “free”?  The simple fee to your ISP for a certain amount of bandwidth gives you access to whatever you want and it’s by YOUR choice that the search engine Google takes precedence over that of Yahoo.

Again, power player AT&T is also trying to charge different rates to actually carry and deliver specific types of applications.  Remember that this is on top of the fee for internet access through your ISP.

N.N would solve this problem, that is, if it were actually a problem.  This issue of paid prioritization isn’t occurring with other ISP’s, so AT&T consumers who aren’t willing to pay that extra can easily change ISP’s if they so desire.  N.N. is considered a solution without a problem to many consumers and professional corporations.

So what’s the point?

It’s simple enough to admit there’s little we can do about news corporations “filtering” information whether by print or world-wide web.  Their authority has shaped what society pays attention to, what beliefs we take on, what interests become other people’s interests, and so on and so forth.  The rest is up to us.

By “rest” I mean using the internet’s concept of “free” to choose where we get our information from, where we adopt our beliefs and interests from.  Without that last sense of freedom that is the internet, you might as well feel like Big Brother (1984, Orwell) or perhaps ‘Ihop’ is knocking on your front door.

It all happened too fast for Little Ricky.  It started as a routine visit to Tommy’s house…

“Boom! Pow! Yes!  Oh my God!  I can’t believe how amazing this thing is,” said Tommy as Ricky walked in the door.  “What’s that you got there Tommy?” asked Little Ricky.  “Only about the best thing in the world dude!  It can do everything and anything you could ever imagine,” replied Tommy.

Anything and everything, huh?  This got Little Ricky thinking as Tommy’s screen lit up with an array of colors.  This device created the most realistic noises and images that Little Ricky had never encountered before.  As Little Ricky got up to leave, Tommy noticed a little flash of envy on Little Ricky’s face.  “Hey, don’t worry about it man, just ask her to get you one.  I’m sure she’ll say yes when you show her what it can do,” said Tommy.

Later on that evening Little Ricky asked Samantha for the same device Tommy had.  With little to no convincing, they went to the store the next day and picked up Little Ricky’s new “piece of heaven”.

“Little Ricky” was 40 years old the day he and his wife Samantha picked up the Ipad from the Apple Store.  He hasn’t regretted the purchase ever since.

There are hundreds upon thousands of “Little Ricky’s” out there.  People of all ages are constantly surrounded with the growing world of technology.  Apple, Inc. has done it’s best to modernize technology over the past four decades of its existence.

The Macintosh Computer (est. 1976), the Ipod (est. 2001), the Itouch (est. 2005), the Iphone (est. 2007) and the Ipad (est. 2010).  These devices have undoubtably changed the course of society and forced many traditional companies to either conform or be obliterated in the name of rebellion (or denial, your choice).

An article posted from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University speaks volumes to the changes Apple devices are already having on consumers and news organizations that have survived thus far.

Apple’s ebook manifesto, “iBooks” has already risen as a top competitor to Amazon and the Kindle since the Ipad’s release earlier this year.  And when the iPhone and iPod touch join its forces later on this year, you can be sure Apple’s ebook sales will increase significantly.

Already, iBooks (as well as the Kindle) have proven to be the easier way of accessing news and other content.  The portable device has the capacity to store hundreds of books and articles in a way that bookshelves certainly lack.

This growing industry has room for the short, the medium and the long reads consumers are constantly seeking.  As for the short print like that of news articles, advertisements or short stories, their rate of success comes at a higher price and risk in the world of printing companies.

Distribution systems like Google or Apple thrive off of content.  News organizations have content.  It’s cheaper, easier, and more efficient.  Enough said.

The combination of an exceedingly demanding society for instant content and no room left for a reasonable printing market, the iBooks application might become a more feasible option for news organizations in time.

IBooks isn’t the only new ‘kid on the block’- the introduction of the iPhone 4 might have newspaper organizations on the edge of its seats.  The human maximum visual capability is 300 dpi.  The iPhone 4 has a screen quality of 326 dpi!

Simply put, this screen quality not only boosts the appeal of using this mobile device and ones like it, but it also lowers print’s “best selling point”: higher visual quality.  Devaluing print like this makes consumers choose between print and devices like the iPhone 4.

The inability to distinguish the difference between the two makes this an even harder choice, for consumers… and news organizations.

Even the daily newspaper, the Columbia Missourian brought Apple’s gadgets into the limelight.  The recent article spoke of a decision made by the Missouri School of Journalism, which made it a requirement for students to have an iPod touch or iPhone to further their educational experience.

Although this debate can spark much talk about a journalism school requiring the use of anything other than the traditional pen and paper, my main point is that the requirement limits brand exploration.

Yes, Apple exists and is thriving in society, but there are other technologic devices and methods of education yet to be thoroughly used.  Because Apple is advancing at such a rapid rate, even devices like the Droid are still in its wake.

Apple’s quality drives many consumers to seek their products despite the hefty price tag, but is this process of conversion slowly taking the other companies out of the picture?  I know I haven’t seen a more sophisticated system than that of Apple’s or one that even rivals it.

In placing a device requirement, the Missouri School of Journalism joins a number of schools and universities doing the same thing such as the Pharmacy Department at the University of Florida or the Brearley School in Manhattan.

If universities and high schools are already making the transition, what does that say about journalists perhaps?  Do they continue to tread in shark-infested waters or enjoy the beach where there’s a life-guard on duty 24/7?

Remember that those like “Little Ricky” are continuing to discover the new age of technology with fascination and curiosity, but one day those “Little Ricky’s” will disappear.  And everyone will already be like “Tommy”.

If it keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.  ~Frank Lloyd Wright

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