Spot on. Leveraging the power of social media resides in our ability to check and funnel its output, not in hosing out content indiscriminately. In this respect Assange, who has decided to throttle the release of his stash of 250,000 cables, releasing them in drips and drabs, is a master puppeteer of both social and mainstream media. Note, at the same time, that Wikileaks is not a social media site anymore. Gone is the MediaWiki software and gone are the edits and the group of individuals that made this site into a community. Now the question is if the site and Assange will survive the release of the cable stash. Will his users come back? Or will they flock around the OpenLeaks.org fork?
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s founder and guiding spirit, apparently began to understand that scarcity, not ubiquity, drives coverage of events. Instead of just pulling back the blankets for all to see, he began to limit the disclosures to those who would add value through presentation, editing and additional reporting. In a sense, Mr. Assange, a former programmer, leveraged the processing power of the news media to build a story and present it in comprehensible ways. Of course, as someone who draws a paycheck from a mainstream journalism outfit, it may be no surprise that I continue to see durable value in what we do even amid the journalistic jujitsu WikiLeaks introduces.