Sort of off any specific VRM topic, this recent thread has got me thinking about spectacular human advances and a seeming connection with the sacrifices of “weaker” individuals. It seems to me that the social network buildup is similar to the great wonders of the world (bare with me). It’s phenomenal all connections and knowledge the different networks of the web are producing from Wiki to blogs to specific social networks. It’s much like the phenomenal monuments built by previous cultures now know as wonders of the world like the pyramids.
The pyramids were built by low paid and slave labor. Their accumulated effort at low cost to the “owner,” in that compensation and recognition of the laborers was low if not non-existent, is really what made such a feat possible, a feat that might not be possible in today’s technologically advanced world. In comparison, you have social networks which essentially employ millions of people (the luckiest ones at least) to produce content for them without having to directly compensate those laborers beyond their own enjoyment of the process.
Just as the pharaohs were not the ones who actually built the pyramids, the network owners are not the ones building the primary substance of the networks. And yet, the pharaohs are the ones who get the credit and majority of the reward much like the owners get the credit and the reward. Admittedly, no one’s bones are crushed up in the process of building today’s new wonders of the world, but we still find an imbalance in sacrifice and reward (in my opinion at least, and that’s still recognizing the enormous credit I really do like to give these other entrepreneurs for their well executed efforts).
Is this just a natural state of human progress where the things that awe us the most are only possible if the masses contribute their singular focus for what amounts to the benefit of a few? Times are certainly changing, and concepts like VRM help improve the situation, but it’s still striking to think about as so many opt into something they don’t realize they’re opting into.