There are arguments out there citing that technology forces social isolationism. I can certainly see this my first year at Rochester Institute of Technology when my freshman year roommate failed out of college after playing video games literally 23 hours a day.
Technology has also created social independence, most notably in 1985 with Aldus’ PageMaker and Apple’s LaserWriter. Desktop publishing was born and individuals, with the technology, were able to create and print high-quality documents.
Technological Independence goes beyond print publishing and into entertainment publishing. Although we have services like YouTube that allow individuals, organizations, and groups express themselves these “publishers” don’t profit directly.
In the music industry we have seen many artists fight with record labels for countless reasons. But only the well established artists were able to break away from the industry and produce their own records for a short while (Elton John, for example). In October, Radiohead parted ways with their label to release their 7th album independently. In Rainbows was released to fans who were able to choose how much they wanted to pay. Was this suicide? PaidContent.org found that 38% of downloaders paid a respectable amount. While the average price was $6 USD, 12% were willing to pay between $8 and $12. PaidContent.co.uk cites Gigwise in quoting an estimated 1.2 million albums shifted hands—putting roughly $4 million into Radiohead’s hands–within a week of release.
This model can be used effectively providing buyers see the purchase as beneficial to themselves, feel secure in making the online purchase, and know that the source is credible.