in Musings

Consuming and delivering

I cringe every time I hear someone say “consumer” when one could say “citizen” or “customer” instead. It irks me when the FCC issues a press release about how something they did was good for “consumers.” I hate being treated like I’m simply one side of a business transaction, especially when a government agency thinks I am. How about “the public?” I’d even settle for “the taxpayers,” though I am quite considerably more than simply someone who forks over my money to the government, too.

My online buddy Doc Searls takes on the label of consumer, and also touches on “content” and “delivering information” themes, too. Reading it, I realized that information never really gets delivered, it gets shared. When you share something, both of you are better for it or are changed by it. That’s quite different from delivering information, which is more of a one-way transaction.

When you meet your neighbor for an impromptu chat, you may mention something you heard or learned. Your neighbor will likely comment on it, and instantly your neighbor’s thoughts will change the information you provided into something slightly (or radically) different.

information isn’t delivered, in the sense that it made the journey from A to B completely intact. Information is always affected by those who perceive it. It can only be shared, not delivered.

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