Media Perspective: The internet battle is won, now is the time to get building

I'm sure I'm not alone in this but I sometimes wonder why I keep writing this column. Doesn't it feel like this whole "digital revolution" thing is over now? It's baked. Fetch it out of the oven, it's done.

Look at all of our national newspapers. They're all blogging, they've all got forums (fora?), podcasts, e-mail alerts and online editions. Many have even got fancy new multimedia newsrooms.

You see the same in marketing land. Some brands are a bit further behind the mythical curve than others, but everyone at least knows what they need to be worrying about, what direction they should be pointing in, and they've got actual people getting things done.

It's the same in telly, in government, in museums, in almost everything. Of course, this makes it hard for all the digital opinionistas, the pundits of progress, the folk, like me, making a living from shouting about tumult and tumbrils. The internet battle is won. It's important. We all know that and we all know what to do with it. So where's the drama? Where's the conflict? Where's the news?

That's probably why luddites and hold-outs such as Andrew Keen get so much airtime: a contrary point of view at least allows for the excitement of raised voices and debate.

For me, though, this is the best bit. This is the most exciting time. Because now the big questions are settled, we can get on with actually building the future that we've all been gabbing about.

More importantly, we can get on with making it good. We can do this by getting the details right and paying attention to the crinkly bits around the edges, things that might not be worth shouting about, but which are worth doing.

Take as an example. It's a US web service that keeps an eye on all televised sport, on every channel in the States, and alerts you if a particular match looks like it's going to be a belter, so you can tune in and watch it yourself. Brilliant. It's not going to change the world, but it's a small, smart thing that's only possible now and makes life more interesting.

Or look at Again, it's not that dramatic. It's just a twitter feed from the Channel 4 news production team, giving updates and insights into the news-making process, offering little glimpses behind the telly curtain.

In fact, it's one of the few things Channel 4 news is doing well online. But that's not a cause for outbreaks of outraged punditry because it obviously knows what it should be doing and it's probably getting on with it. It's a sign that the dramatic times are over, and now it's time for the quiet business of building great stuff.


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