The Internet allowed a new flow of communication springing from the consumer toward the media.
It was a key turning point in the media-consumer relationship: with the personal computer and the Internet, suddenly we are all connected. #
And each of our users (readers, viewers, consumers) is connected to our media, to our ad, to our company, to us. #
We don’t send our content in the world at large anymore. #
We are sending it to people who are connected to us. #
Ever since the beginning of the Web, each time we are sending content, people can send us something back. #
And since they are our clients (consumers, readers, viewers), we have to provide them with a mean to talk back to us. #
I played with the idea of calling this simple observation “Ping Pong” (“Every Ping should be ready for a Pong”), but for clarity and mnemonic purposes, I called this new phenomena and its consequences “ComCom”. #
The ComCom Principle: #
- From now on, every communication has to take into account its feedback.
- For every communication output (« Com »)
there is a communication feedback (« Com »).
- Meaning: Every time we publish any ad, news, or content in any media we must provide, at the same time, the means for our readers-consumers to reply.
- Moreover, if we want to thrive in this new context, we have to seize every opportunity to provoke this feedback.
In hindsight, it looks today as if ComCom contains hidden in its folds most ideas anyone needs to use the Web at its best for fun or for profit. But it took some twists and turns to go from there to a business model. #
But at the time, the biggest influence of ComCom was to validate for me this line of inquiry: after a few months of observation, I had been able to describe a characteristic of the Web that could be useful to any kind of media. Once again, McLuhan was right: this is a machine that can be observed and described. Everything else could eventually be observed and described. #
Note: I have registered “Com Com” as a trademark in Canada in 1999 and have used it ever since for business and conferences. #
In presentations at the time, I had the audacity of predicting that “In 5 years, 50% of the content of any media on the Web will be made by readers”. #
Hahaha! That was in 1999 and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Eleven years later readers are still an afterthought in most news media. #
On the other hand, with millions of blogs, communities, forums and social networks like facebook, flickr, Twitter and so many others, I guess that the overall content created by “readers” overwhelms easily the content of all mass media combined. It’s just that it’s happening outside of traditional media instead of within them as I thought at the time. #
I know now that Com Com is vastly more widespread than the relationships between media and readers on the Web: it has probably always existed in any context of any relationship. What has changed, as McLuhan pointed out, is the speed of communication, and the speed of the feedback: the speed of electricity. #
He even predicted that the acceleration of change won’t stop until every human being is linked to the others at this very speed. (We are not done yet). #
In 1999, the domain name com.com was already taken, but I found a way to use it in this domain name: boutotcom.com. #