I re-acquainted myself with the word “authenticity” recently and it ties together many of my thoughts about the history and direction of the Internet. To summarize my definition in this context, the concept is letting people be their raw and real selves, and encouraging them and enabling them to.
From moving from the notion of collecting eyeballs as the root of a successful business model (like traditional media) in the mid-late 1990s, this has been one of the guiding trajectories of the Internet. See some of my prior posts on the Internet’s history: from its role as providing us better soap boxes over time, to enabling expression and sparking an unprecedented conversation among hundreds of millions of people, to enablement where people can express themselves through events, to Facebook and Friendster and others’ role in letting us be out there with our real identities. The internet has become more personal and more of a peer-to-peer conversation.
The word is authenticity. Focusing on it and finding ways to give that power to people will help create new killer Internet businesses.