Entertainment and media have historically been driven by a narrative. The emphasis has usually been on the story, or the song, or the movie, etc. We as consumers of media sit back and watch/listen/read the narrative and are entertained. Increasingly though we are moving to a new paradigm. In this paradigm we want to create content once a framework has been created. We are becoming increasingly interested in helping to create the narrative. We want to be a part of the story.
This concept takes many forms. It could be my desire to play a role in an online game such as Everquest or Counter Strike. It could be my desire to be a musician and post my music to websites such as MP3.com. It could be my desire to program my own TV by using my TIVO. It could be my desire to create a Fantasy Football Team and compete with others is a game that is driven off the statistics from a week of football.
In this world the narrative is less important, and the set design, or the context is more important. Its the Dungeon Master that creates the place for the story and its the characters who write the narrative. Its the viewers who vote for American Idol. Its the other players who vote you off the island in Survivor.
If we as media consumers can be given context to create our own stories, and we can find use for the mass amount of distribution capacity that exists, it seems to me that we are poised for a massive change in the way that media is created, thought of and consumed. I think that we will always have hits that come out of the center of some creative apparatus, but I think the world of tomorrow will allow us to experience a world where content increasingly comes from the edge of the network, not the center of it. Edge of the network content is my next topic.