The Crossroads of Information?

The Crossroads of Information?

Last week, I sat down with my wife Mariia – a brilliant brand strategist. She is working on a new offer – personality unpacking for solopreneurs like myself. In its essence, I wanted her help with figuring out how I can combine my own interests and the needs in the market to grow my personal brand.

Long story short, it's been super insightful, and I learned a lot about myself.

And one of the things she helped me uncover is my deep believe in independent publishing. Now, while that sounds like a bunch of BS straight out of a corporate year-end report, I promise you it's worth it.

When I talked to Mariia, I told her that I think we're at a bit of a crossroad right now. A crossroad on which we have to decide how we want to use the freedom we gained through the internet.

See, half a century ago, information was highly controlled. If you had thoughts and ideas, sure, you could share them with your friends. You could put posters up in your neighbourhood. But you couldn't really reach someone on the other side of the world with it.

The information space was guarded. Publishers decided which books get published. Editors decided what stories were printed in the newspapers. There was no medium that made it possible to share your thoughts to thousands of people.

And then, the internet came along.

People could write from their computer in the backroom of a stuffy flat in the Austrian countryside. And half across the world, others could read their thoughts and ideas.

People put their diaries online. They created blogs. Shared research papers. Created websites about topics that interest them (like dear Jannis, who created a website about railways and music in his childhood bedroom – I would have loved to share that with you, but all I could find is this unstyled version on the wayback machine).

And then we wanted to take that to the next level. We wanted to reach more people. Masses. We wanted to write less. Just 140 characters. We wanted to host our content for free. And were willing to pay with our data.

You see what I am getting at. Instead of online diaries and blogs, we turned to Facebook and Twitter. And while social networks were great to connect with others, they now turned into publishers and editors.

Their algorithms dictate what's interesting and what's not. Their "For You" pages control what we see and what we don't. And you can pay to appear more trustworthy than others. Blue ticks of hell.

The good thing in all of this? I think I am not the only one who sees the crossroads. I think there are a lot of people out there who realise how great your own blog can actually be. Your own little home on the internet.

A home you control. Where nobody can restrict what you publish and who sees it.

So, look around you. Do you see the crossroad as well?