The Six Stages in the Lifecycle of Communications Channels

Here is a very useful and interesting article about how new communications mediums evolve through six stages of evolution. According to the author, Mayer Spivack, who happens to be my father, Weblogs as a medium are still in stage 1. I think this article presents a very good description of the general pattern or arc of how communications media evolve — It’s a roadmap for where the Weblogging medium will evolve in coming years. This is required reading for anyone who is interested in the future of blogging technology.

Stage 1— Calling out of identity: If the first stage of these channels and the web logs we are considering replicates human development (a probably fallacious theory, but for the moment a useful and pretty one), then a series of stages might be hypothesized as follows:

Stage 2— Content overwhelms identity: Stage two might be represented by individuals who have something other than their own existence and identity to express and communicate to others. At that point, Web logs can be integrated into the word’s larger interests and serious considerations.

Stage 3— Building order and community: The third stage may be the ordering, finding (browsing), classifying, and legitimization of postings (and those who post) on web logs by means of new software, new public awareness and interest, and with rapidly growing mass involvement.

Stage 4— Integration with everyday life and thought: A possible fourth and nearly mature stage may occur when associatively linked web logs become integrated into the thinking and communicating of individuals around the globe, as has happened with radio, TV, and more recently with the internet itself.

Stage 5— Winnowing: A fifth stage might be characterized by a winnowing-out of redundant and/or less successful ‘broadcasts,’ reducing the channel clutter, improving transmission reliability, focusing bandwidth distribution onto significant or powerful loci, and reducing the noise and chaff. At this fifth stage, we may also find a reduction in the democracy and accessibility of the ‘broadcast’ bandwidth and a disenfranchisement of the low profile broadcasters.

Stage 6— Revolution and return to Stage One: The Sixth stage would be founded upon the wreckage of the now over-regulated fifth stage, and initiates the recycling of the whole process, and the birth of a new Stage 1. The fifth stage sets the stage for a technical and social revolution in which a newer form of communication supplants the ageing less open fifth-level predecessor.

Read his weblog for more of this article…