The Consumer’s Lessons

What happened with the Internet is that its new technologies and applications such as blogs, search engines, forums, social media, and many other online tools were used by the users to take control, literally, of the production and consumption of information, activities restricted to great news portals and companies.

It wasn’t a linear process, there wasn’t a start, a great discovery or a businessman with a big corporation. Users started to group themselves, have ideas, and produce all sorts of content and apps.

One of the best examples of this process is Blogger, a platform of blog creation whose content is generated by users and their millions of blogs. Blogger was created to make them accessible, which demanded a significant investment in their website development.

WordPress went beyond. Not only was a blog platform, with similar content and importance to Blogger. Its own software was developed by users and then freely distributed to millions of other bloggers around the world, and today it is the most used blogging software online.

Blogger created a fantastic idea: you make your own blog. WordPress started from that idea and went further: you create your own blog, here or everywhere, and if you wish, you can improve the software as well.

This example illustrates that the significant change of the Internet was not the technology, but the paradigm. Digital technology is only a support for the actions of connected people. There is no longer a barrier between producer and consumer. There is no longer an exclusivity in the production, nor with the media or with the software.

Another great example is YouTube, where all can produce videos or consume them. YouTube has become something like a collaborative TV, where you can make videos about your daily life or something you are really passionate about. Also, professionals can produce movies, documentaries or series for a broad public. Still, YouTube became a big online school, where people all over the world publish tutorials, recipes, and classes on video. Even musical production and consumption has its space on YouTube, which has benefited many emerging musicians.

In this digital universe, everyone has equal access to production and consumption technology. And most importantly: there is no longer a distinction between information, entertainment, and relationship.

The consumer is the decision maker. They consume information, entertainment and relationship from whenever they chose to, be it from YouTube, news portal, from a blogger or from a friend on Facebook.

The Internet has stopped to be the land of corporations dot com, the computer network, the repository of information like an extensive library. The Internet has ceased to be, indeed, the center of access to itself. The expansion of digital technology has transformed the Internet in a communication medium where millions of people are connected through their mobiles, laptops, smart TVs or computers.

This has changed the Internet by technology action, in a digital ecosystem, and by the act of the consumers themselves in a network of people; a mix between school, theme park and party, something like a large hive.

However, all this technology wouldn’t be anything if not by the active participation and engagement of people in the production and consumption of content, and in the dynamic creation of a relationship network. This way, the consumer is the genuinely responsible, the reason we arrived here to this extensive and creative network of people, where everyone is looking to belong to a gigantic metropolis and nurture small-town relationships at the same time.

Like a Rio de Janeiro favela’s student, where a free Wi-Fi was installed, said: ‘No one greets you down the street anymore. Here, on the Internet, everyone knows each other’.