Pandora’s Neocracy #5: Give back the Internet to the people
Originally posted at www.crossmedialab.nl on 16 May 2010. I have added the comments.
A couple of weeks ago NOS (Dutch Broadcasting Corporation) announced that they would focus on Internet applications solely instead of forcing themselves into complicated and expensive different apps for different operating systems. At the first glimpse one may think that to be a sort of strange decision. One would expect this mastodon of digital innovation to serve as many people as possible. With all those different OS’s in the market of smart phones and other either mobile or portable devices, has NOS gone silly? Don’t they want to reach all capita? Have they no obligation to offer content to all in The Netherlands? The answer is: YES, they do. And that’s exactly why they chose to develop Internet applications instead of bringing all those different apps to all those different operating systems. And that’s smart, as far as I’m concerned. From now on everybody can obtain the contents NOS produces, aggregates and distributes, regardless of what type of OS one may have embedded in one’s smart phone. Thank God for that. Dutch public broadcaster is bringing Internet to the people – free Internet content – instead of supporting the original device and software makers. Now that’s what I call a true neocracy.
The other day I talked with a bloke who wanted to admire my iPhone as he saw me using the little rascal in public. I was making a phone call. Can you believe it? I actually used my phone to make a call. The guy had heard about iPhones and had seen them in print on posters from operators but never had seen a real one in full operation. It is hard to believe but it’s true, this story. But hey, let us not forget that people like me are like spearheads when it comes down to modern communication. So I showed the thing to him. At a certain moment I told him that I was sorry for not being able to show a lot of apps as I had not downloaded many. Apart from a Layar and QR button, my interface only offers the original buttons that came with the machine. “Why would you want them?”, he noticed. “Well”, I replied, “they, uuuh, well they come in handy. You see, here I keep my contacts, there my photo’s. That’s Youtube and next to it my calendar. Then, there’s the stocks and the compass. There is also a button for the camera, notes, maps, the weather, a Dictaphone, the clock, Safari, calculator and iTunes”, I explained the multi-color display. “And if I slide to the next page, there are some more buttons and apps. Great, hu?” They guy asked me which of these buttons I use most. I had to think. Could it be that I use the phone and Safari button most? I know I have used the compass once. Normally I know quite well where I am and I have not had any directions to go 51° North East during the last forty years or so.
Stop. I’m being over-rational. Had I been a boy scout, that compass would most certainly serve the purpose. I have heard that the US Army is using iPhones in distant Afganistan. Apparently the device is of great use to them. The machine is small, light weight and can be loaded with many relevant applications for soldiers in the cause of battle. True enough (but don’t drop it in the water). Of course I am being over-rational but I am trying to make a point.
For common civilians such as myself, many apps are not relevant. Stop again. I should not generalize my personal issues. For me reading my email on my phone is actually quite relevant.
Back to the Internet and giving it back to the people. I believe that it is the people who should decide how to use and what to use from the Internet. Currently, we, as the people, are pretty much forced into whatever marketing makes us need. As a marketer and Internet observer, I believe that marketing is making big mistakes. Sooner or later people will not accept push mechanisms any more. Power to the people!