A recent trip through the blogosphere has brought me to the conclusion that, in today's information age there is a call to begin to shed the [hard-earned] burdens of assumed credibility in order to begin to accept the fact that useful, factual and powerful information can come from a number of sources, not just those that are stamped and sealed for delivery to mass audiences. Of course, coming from an obvious 'little guy' at a relatively obscure technology industry analyst firm (Entiva) this sounds biased. However, the intended point is that there are an increasing number of tools and technologies available which are providing a platform for more and more voices that have quite a bit of merit. Just as the Internet has sped the growth of the global open source software community which has given birth to products and services that are changing the game within the software industry.
In a similar fashion to what is taking place currently, where technology users and buyers are beginning to fully adjust to the relatively new paradigm of open source, information purveyors must also do the same with this new crop of voices that are being broadcast across the world. For example, it would have been deemed pure lunacy to think about Red Hat as an $800 million plus company 5 years ago, or to think that JBoss would fetch the price tag that it eventually did, back when the project was in its early stages. Such is the nature of the evolution of ecosystems, you'll never know how much they're really worth [monetarily] until everything is said and done.
Likewise with the emergence of this new age of independent, self-censored information sources the time is ripe to begin to accept that value is going to start exploding from all corners of the web/world. As I like to think 'Somewhere, someone is highly qualified in the subject area about which I am thinking/writing/researching right now...And they're probably blogging about it.' With this intensely open environment will come the responsibility to recognize how outdated it has become to only take advantage of traditional channels of information exchange. It is no longer intelligent to depend solely on 'brand names,' because some of the best content is going to come from the edge.
The Web vanguard (Google, Yahoo!, etc.) realize this and seem to be dead set on acquiring and integrating technologies that enable them to extend their reach to the very fringes of the Internet and back. It's not just a game of who can index the web the best/fastest, but has become one of who can establish the most attractive platform on top of which others want to build. In the same way, individuals have to re-focus their perspective and begin to find ways to broaden their trust horizons in order to fully leverage this paradigm shift. How well a person can gauge the value of any given entity without relying too heavily on perceived qualifications is going to determine how much he/she takes from what's out there and uses it.