Web 2.0 Social Web: who is in control?

Who has the power in the Web 2.0 Social Web world?

Robert Young posits today at GigaOM that “the consumers are in control” in the Web 2.0 Social Web world:

social media, by definition, shifts much of the media supply functions directly into the hands of the audience itself.

In other words, with social media, the consumers are in control of production, programming, and distribution … which is a complete reversal of the traditional media model. This reversal in control leads to some interesting consequences, the most obvious being the impact it has on the translation of core competencies within traditional media organizations (they become largely obsolete in the context of social media).


Young references Robert Murdoch’s News Corp. acquisition of MySpace to support his theory of a “new dimension of strategic corporate development.”

How “new,” however, is the concept of a media conglomerate acquiring an additional media property to diversify its assets, audience and reach? More importantly, at a $580 million price tag, it is most surely News Corp. that controls the production, programming and distribution assets of the MySpace property, rather than the non-paying MySpace “friends.”

Whether it is MySpace, Wikipedia or Digg, it is the corporate, not-for-profit or venture capital backers that are firmly in control of the assets and the infrastructures of the Social Web properties that are making themselves available for “free” to the Internet community.

The relationship between Web 2.0 Social Web property owners and Web 2.0 Social Web user contributors, in fact, is inherently symbiotic. While each side needs the other, however, the relationship is not one of equals; Social Web contributors are dependent upon the “free” infrastructure graciously offered by Web 2.0 properties.

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