Ideas and Unlimited Shelf Space
On the internet, it's basically free to create an idea and share it. In fact, that's what I'm doing now. In the old days, this wasn't the case. Ideas had to compete for shelf space to get in front of audiences. Now, ideas just have to compete for eyeballs.
There's a key difference here. When competing for shelf space, proprietors of ideas had to convince broadcast companies and publishers that they had ideas people wanted to hear. Moreover, if those broadcasters had a modicum of journalistic integrity, they could insist upon quality standards for themselves and for others.
Today, when idea-peddlers compete directly for eyeballs instead of shelf space, they can make money even if their ideas lack quality. After all, these peddlers can buy audiences with advertisements or with low-brow messages that appeal to humans' neanderthalic compulsions.
There are also many more ideas bombarding us on a daily basis than in previous decades. After all, If it's no longer costly to create ideas, two-bit hacks (like yours truly) say whatever they want whenever they want.
When ideas can become higher in quantity and lower in quality, it's harder to build momentum around a single (good) idea because there are so many lesser ideas to distract from it. What perplexes me is how to keep those more meritorious ideas around long enough so that they lead to action.
But maybe a way out of this cycle of distraction is getting back to to basics and propagating ideas the old-fashioned way, with authentic, in-person, interaction. And, by articulating ideas with such compelling quality, sincerity, and persistence that those who hear them can't help but talk about it with everyone they meet.