Publishing used to require access to a printing press and, as a result, the act of publishing something was limited to a tiny fraction of the population, and reaching a population outside a geographically limited area was even more restricted. Now, once a user connects to the internet, he has access to a platform that is at once global and free. It isn’t just that our communications tools are cheaper; they are also better. In particular, they are more favorable to innovative uses, because they are considerably more flexible than our old ones. Radio, television, and traditional phones all rely on a handful of commercial firms owning expensive hardware connected to cheap consumer devices that aren’t capable of very much. The new model assumes that the devices themselves are smart; this in turn means that one may propose and explore new models of communication and coordination without needing to get anyone’s permission first (to the horror of many traditional media firms).
Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (New York & London: Penguin Books, 2008), 77.