We all learn in school that nature abhors a vacuum and that’s also true of human nature. Slowly the realization is dawning that the Internet is the medium within which these vacuum-filling tendencies of human nature are played out.
By its nature, the Internet could be described as a pull-medium. It’s like that vacuum and it’s just waiting to suck up and propagate news and ideas. Before the Internet, it took a great deal of energy to spread the word. Newspapers, Radio, Television – they were and are push-media. Massive efforts of PR were necessary to get ideas spread. Conversely powerful agencies could suppress news relatively easily by putting a lid on information and waiting until the world had moved on to some other newsworthy event. That’s all changed in the age of the Internet.
The US Defence Chief Donald Rumsfeld has got it right in a BBC item titled US ‘losing media war to al-Qaeda’. He is quoted as saying, “The longer it takes to put a strategic communications framework into place, the more we can be certain that the vacuum will be filled by the enemy.’ That vacuum requires information to fill it. If you don’t, someone else will. Poor old Dick Cheney is finding that out as is evidenced in the Washington Post item this morning, “VP Accident Tale Filled With Discrepancies“.
The Internet cannot be put back in the box. It’s changed the dynamic of news and information transfer. Vacuums are there to be filled. If you’re the one the news is all about, then you better make sure you’re the one filling the vacuum.