Revolutionary advancements in technology are rarely adopted cleanly and swiftly into society. Sometimes cost is a prohibiting factor. Where cost isn’t a factor, adoption or acceptance is oftentimes hindered by skepticism and fear since the advancement is replacing or modifying something that has been considered tried, tested and “true”. It is only after acceptance has been achieved with a small number of vanguards, who are able to show the rest that the new way is a better way, that the advancement becomes part of mainstream society.
You don’t usually hear about the elevator in discussions about dramatic technological advances on society. We take them for granted today, yet they existed for years before people would ride them. Perfectly good elevators sat unused as people climbed the stairs. It was only when people saw that the few who started using them didn’t fall to their deaths, did they gain widespread acceptance.
Today we sit on the edge of a media revolution. While the Wall Street Journal and others still warn of the long fall down the elevator shaft, more and more people and media institutions are starting to realize that there may be a better way than only having a relatively small number of “reporters” collecting and reporting the news on T.V. and in newspapers. I predict in years to come (probably not that many) people will look back and chuckle at the same skepticism we’re showing towards the blogosphere today. Do we know where the blogosphere will take us? No. After all, not many folks contemplated that elevators would lead to the rise (literally – through vertical expansion) of modern cities. But I don’t think were going to fall down the shaft either.