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"Money Equals Power" a living post mortem

"Money Equals Power"

Well it used to be pretty simple. The more money you had the more power you had(or could buy). I look at the world today and I just don't think that's true any more.

The internet has shifted not just the goal posts but the entire playing field. Well the internet is growing everyday and effecting more and more of our lives. In more and more amazing ways. Once you get online (and pay that cost with your broadband company or what ever) everything online is free. Information is free for you. It is a bit like you buy a book and pay nothing for the book but pay for the delivery. The creators of this information either create it because they want to make money (adverts, company websites, etc) or because they enjoy providing it (wikipedia, blogs).

What the internet has done is to provide a platform where the amount of money poured into creating the information does not equal the amount of power the information wields. In the UK we have had a fantastic example of this, the Rage Against The Machine Christmas Number 1 shows the power of a completely free internet campaign, it toppled Simon Cowell's million pound x factor entry. The campaign all started with a simple Facebook group, a Facebook group that grew too be one of the most massive groups ever and unlike previous similar campaigns. This campaign worked. It proved the theory.

Money does not equal power online.

Quality equals power online.

The Facebook campaign worked because the group hit the right nerve, it pulled together people power by joining together all the UK residents who were sick enough of X-factor always winning (for whatever reason) the Christmas number 1 to spend less then a pound. They picked a song that helped stir up support and was an easy war song to stand behind.

The quality was in the groups timing and attitude, it was simple and direct. The quality of the group created power because thousands of people were drawn to the cause.

The same can be seen in how the news industry is being ripped up and re made by the web. People read blogs by strangers on an event at the same time as they read news reports by large media companies. If the blog post is of high quality it will get recommended and its popularity, influence and power would rise. A media companies report on the same event could gain similar influence and power if it was of good quality. The web doesn't care that the blog was written for free by an interested amateur or by a paid reporter who's report was edited and put through a complex internal process. The web will just explore the quality.

The blogs and more specifically the Tweets are often more real time and therefore more interesting to the average consumer. Loads of news companies are now seeing this and have started to quote tweets, or facebook comments in news stories. It is a simple and cheap way to add the voice of the people into their news package.

I believe that the power of money is being eroded by the power of free self-publication. I think quality will be the new standard, However, the question is "can money buy the quality of passionate amateurs working for free?"


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