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Three Laws of information, power of knowledge and peasant revolt

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Eggs Igino’s Three Laws of Information (full story here thanks to JP – scroll down to the last bit of the post)

1. Knowledge is Power!

2. Knowledge is not a Candy Bar

2(b). Word Travels Fast

He stared at his theories. He underlined each of them twice as he rehearsed their logic. It was just so beautiful to see the salespeople so powerless and their world going to hell. For an intellectual like Igino, it was as beautiful as mitochondria in a petri dish or a mouse in a maze. Then he wrote below the other lines in large, energetic, slashing letters:

3. Power is Temporary!!!

I love it. This is what JP adds:

We have learnt about the power of many. We have learnt about the corruptions that take place when reading/writing power is in the hands of a few. History is not just littered with examples, even the history we read has had its fair share of corruption.

History has much to recommend it as a guide to the present and the future. It’s a record of evolutions, patterns and powershifts. It can also help to explain the new revolutionary stuff. I often compare blogs and social media to the printing press (I know, I know, everyone does these days but bear with me) and its evolution in roughly three stages. One of the things I learnt when looking closer at the history of publishing was that the first couple of hundred years of its existence access to printing press was heavily controlled and regulated. This slowed down its impact significantly although ultimately couldn’t stop it. So in the long run opennes wins, control loses. (Alas, sometimes the corruptions of the latter make even Keynes right and in the long run we might all be dead.) But I digress.

In the first stage, a blog (the machine or the format) was interesting as it optimised the distribution of writing on the internet. It helped to highlight the nature of the internet as a network by acting as a node by default, not just by design like a website. Much of online communication technology such as blogs, RSS and wikis are like printing press machines, the mechanics of it interesting mostly to geeks and techies.

The second stage was the realisation that blogs are not merely ‘online diaries’ and that you can apply blogging to your own purposes. Just like with books, not all printed books need to be the Bible. And as a result, there are now many different types of ‘books’, using the same optimised format. I encourage businesses to investigate the ‘books’, i.e. the application blogging for their own purposes. So there are
executive blogs, internal blogs, collaborative project blogs, research blogs etc etc.

And finally, the third stage, the one I am really interested in, is the ‘Reformation’ and the ‘Peasant revolt’ i.e. the changes, social, political and individual, that emerge from the widespread application of the technology or tools. The social dimension is emerging as the more important one, it is possible to create relationships, build trust and establish reputations. Partly it is a function of flexibility of the communication tools such as blogs and wikis (accessible and dynamic) and partly a function of the persistence of online communication, iterations or ’rounds’ in interaction. And the biggest part of it all is the human nature finding its way to new/old expressions, knowledge and understanding.

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