I did a Google search for "Internet"+"failed experiment" and this is what I found:
This article from CJR's "Real Time Daily" blog, "Real-Time Media Criticism from the Columbia Journalism Review" appeared as the first entry that returned. In it, the article describes a "Wikitorial experiment" done by the Los Angeles Times newspaper, in 2005.
"Our excuse is that we never quite understood the thing in the first place. Best we could tell, the Times would write an editorial and post it online, and then anyone who wanted to was invited to take a crack at their own edit, no matter what their relative level of insight, their political leanings, their proclivity for profanity — or their mental health.
That couldn't be it, we figured. Could it? Well yes, it turns out, apparently it could." Read the rest here.
I am beginning to think about blogs, like this one (ACMEBoston Blog), as a failed experiment. Why? Maybe it's because we do have too much media to consume–forced upon us everywhere we turn in our daily lives, through TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and advertising–blurring our ability to participate, to make sense of it all, to gain perspective, and to have the ability to think critically about the information we receive as individuals and members of a global society.
With so much media, how do we know what or where to choose from and, more importantly, why we're making our media choices? Are our media choices the best ones for us–providing us with the news and information we need to make informed decisions–or are they simply predetermined through our past media consumption and other people's media consumption?
These online spaces, like the ACMEBoston Blog, are tools. Tools we can use to discuss, share, and make sense of it all. But, it's beginning to look like our time is quickly runnning out. The ability that we do have to use these spaces to communicate today, may not be here tomorrow.
The New Titans of New Media (Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) claim that they will not "block" our access to the Internet. They simply say that the market will ultimately decide which voices will get heard and which ones will not. It's the next generation in the battle over communication rights, as was (and still is) the case with newspapers, radio, television, and cable. Those who can afford access to ownership, ultimately gain control.
The question remains, how will our government decide the best way to protect the public interest and our communication rights in 21st century communication policy making? Will they represent our interests or will they side with the interests of their biggest campaign contributors?
The Internet appears to be moving to a "cable-like" model, with 60 channels and nothing on. What do I mean? Well, when Google's stock fell this week they quickly responded to reassure Wall Street that there's nothing to worry about.
"Chief executive Eric Schmidt assured analysts he sees 'tremendous headroom' to develop better advertising formulas, in turn generating more of the commissions that account for most profits. Someday, he said, Google might generate $100 billion in annual revenue as it expands into television, radio, and publishing advertising channels." – AP, "Google reassures investors and its stocks gain 3.2%"
If these new Giants of Media get there way (proving that the Internet was, in fact, a failed experiment, in their view) I wonder if we'll look back at these democratic online spaces, as simply, wasted opportunities. Or is it, that the media environment in which we live (no matter how much space it provides for online or offline communication) simply makes us numb, dumbs us down, and keeps us from working together to achieve a truly just, equitable, and representative global society.
Perhaps the Internet has become a failed experiment, as the Industry execs would like us to believe. But, we're not there yet and it doesn't have to be that way.