Creation & Destruction – Internet Style


One of the amazing aspects of the Web is the ability to speed processes.  To name, but a few:

  • Instanteous feedback on products and services
  • Near real-time customer service
  • Instant communication with colleagues, partners and clients

But one area that we grapple with is how the Web speeds the cycle of creation and destruction.  Simply put this is the process of  old technologies and/or concepts being replaced by new ones.  Pre-internet examples are many:

  • Automobiles replacing the horse and buggy
  • Refrigeration replacing the practice of buying blocks of ice
  • MP3s replacing compact discs (and CDs replacing vinyl albums)

The Web, however, especially with the advent of social media platforms, has taken the process of creation and

Tomorrow: the Comeback

Tomorrow: the Comeback

destruction to hyper-speeds.  In fact, the destruction is often taking place before the creation.  Look no further than the struggle of the newspaper industry as the Great Media Collapse of 2009 continues.

Newspapers are closing – their models no longer relevent in an age of instant, web communications – yet no viable model for gathering and dispensing news has been created as a replacement.  There are hybrid models: blogs and news aggregation sites, but these new modes rely heavily on newspapers to produce much of their content.  The worry, of course, is that the collapse of newspapers will happen before a viable replacement model is created.

This process is not only happening in business, but also culturally.  If you want to take a look at just how the hyper-speeds of the Web are pushing the creation and destruction cycle to its limits – look at the sad saga of Susan Boyle.

Boyle was a frumpy, 48-year-old Scottish woman living in obscurity less than two months ago.  When she appeared on the reality TV show “Britain’s Got Talent,” the “never-been-kissed” spinster was unemployed and sharing an apartment with her cat.  As she bobbled on stage to sing, the show’s judges and the audience went into a fit of snickering and eye-rolling at her plain as peanut butter appearance.

Yet, Boyle wowed them all as she belted out “I Dreamed a Dream.”  Her inspiring rendition of the song was a mega-hit on YouTube – generating more than 220 million views from around the world.  Fan pages sprouted up on Facebook and chatter about her on Twitter was constant.   She was everywhere: on the Web, on TV, profiled in magazines and newspapers.  Her rags-to-riches story brought people to tears.  Suddenly, Boyle was the most famous person in the world.

But faster than you can say “Simon Cowell” the backlash began.  And this week, Boyle, who was a lock to win “Britain’s Got Talent,” lost.  Stunned by it, Boyle,  with millions of people watching, fell into a mental breakdown as she came to terms with the fact that she was the show’s runner-up.  She has since been hospitalized for “exhaustion and stress” at a private mental health clinic.

According to the Daily Mail, Boyle had been exhibiting strange behavior in the week before the show by displaying signs that her newfound fame was taking an enormous toil (including panic attacks).

So in a matter of weeks, we have an entire celebrity’s career: the sudden stardom, the global fame, the backlash and fizzle, and the mental breakdown (with the cliched hospitalization).  Get ready for the next act: the comeback.  At the speed the Boyle story has been happening that should take place within two weeks.

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