Dan Lyons’ Disrupted has caused a major commotion with its inside look at Internet marketing firm Hubspot. But part of what’s fascinating about the book is how it holds a mirror up to online marketing practices in general. My post for The Harvard Business Review looks at the costs of online marketing for the Internet as a whole.
When we make the Internet worse for individual users, we waste an extraordinary opportunity. In the Internet, we have the most revolutionary content platform in a millennium — a platform that can support not only broad participation in sharing ideas and knowledge, but also support real-time conversation around that content. This is the medium that promised to bust us free of a corporatized media driven by elite interests, so that ordinary people could have their voices heard. This is the medium that offered the possibility that creative artists and independent thinkers might actually be able to find a platform for their work and ideas, and even find a way to support themselves while doing it. This is the medium that has already enabled the rapid dissemination of innovative economic development models, sustainable energy innovations and grassroots mobilization strategies, which were once front-and-centre on the social web, but are increasingly shoved to the margins.