I wasn’t that great at science at school. But of the three basic disciplines, the one I got a grasp of most was chemistry.
In thinking about media, at its most general level, I’ve been wondering for a while if the change in the landscape can be likened to a chemical reaction that has changed the state of the molecules of media.
To clarify; I’m thinking here of the ‘molecules of media’ as the small parts that made up a greater whole; an article in a newspaper, picture in a magazine, song from an album, tv show from a channel.
And the internet has turned up the heat on media.
Before, everything was in solid state. Molecules of media were fixed rigidly together, in newspapers, magazines, linear TV channels, and so on.
The great thing for media owners is that they could sell fixed, rigid clumps of matter, constructed from some molecules people wanted, and some they didn’t.
The heat of the internet has melted these chunks of natter into liquid form.
Suddenly, people can dip a thimble in, take what they like, and leave the rest. The liquid sloshes out of the side, leaks through gaps, seeps wherever the gravity of demand takes it.
Media owners don’t like this. It’s hard to sell, hard to manage, near impossible to predict.
So they do one of two things.
They try and frantically cool the world down again. Close everything down, resolidify their media molecules. Pay walls and the like try and harden up those media molecules into something that looks and can be treated as solid media matter once more.
It doesn’t help that the world continues to get hotter every day. The task of resolidifying media molecules is a Sisyphean one at best.
But why go against the temperature shift? What happens when you actively heat up your own world?
What happens when liquid turns to gas?
Molecules in a gaseous state travel much further. They become as light as the air itself, and float effortlessly through the world.
They start combining with other elements and molecules they bump into, and form new and interesting substances.
How do you make money from gas, though? If it’s everywhere and free, what’s the incentive for people to pay for it.
Well, don’t sell the gas. Sell vessels that make the gas useful.
Things that hold the gas for people to look at, or makes the gas easy to use, or turn the gas into a fuel for something. Things that capture gas effortlessly, making it easy for people to regularly tap into it.
Use, use, use, usability: that’s the beauty of gas.