The new medium of social media has created a new grassroots movement. It is such a big change that almost no one notices what happened.
Social media shows us that a new paradigm has evolved. You can see it in the verbiage:
Old paradigm verbiage
Consumers, corporate power, mass marketing, advertising, planned obsolescence, email blasts, broadcasting.
New paradigm verbiage
Individualists, informed buyers reporting on products and corporations, freedom of choice, democratized media, viral messaging, conversation, democratic media, inclusion & participation, flocking behavior, community, global reach.
Or to put it more succinctly, the old paradigm of the advertising age and consumerism is being replaced by a new era of individualism, free choice, and democratic grass-roots viral media.
OLD ADVERTISING AGE vs. NEW SOCIAL MEDIA ERA
Consumers vs. Informed Buyers
Advertising vs. Information
Broadcasting vs. Interactive Communication
Autocratic Media vs. Netizen Reportage
Customers vs. Neighbors
Markets vs. Communities
Wikipedia article on information overload:
A quite early example of the term information overload can be found in an article by Jacob Jacoby, Donald Speller and Carol Kohn Berning, who conducted an experiment on 192 housewives which was said to confirm the hypothesis that more information about brands would lead to poorer decision making. But long before that, the idea was introduced by Diderot, although it wasn’t by the term ‘information overload’:
As long as the centuries continue to unfold, the number of books will grow continually, and one can predict that—
a time will come when it will be almost as difficult to learn anything from books as from the direct study of the whole universe.
It will be almost as convenient to search for some bit of truth concealed in nature as it will be to find it hidden away in an immense multitude of bound volumes. –Denis Diderot, “Encyclopédie” (1755)