A good article by Tim Wu in the New York Times, on the effects of convenience.
Convenience has the ability to make other options unthinkable.
Yet our taste for convenience begets more convenience, through a combination of the economics of scale and the power of habit. The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes â€” and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon. Convenience and monopoly seem to be natural bedfellows.
(Extend that line of thought to Twitter/Facebook vs. individually owned websites distributed across the internet as a heterogeneous and diverse culture of sharing and interactingâ€¦)
We are spoiled by immediacy and become annoyed by tasks that remain at the old level of effort and time. When you can skip the line and buy concert tickets on your phone, waiting in line to vote in an election is irritating.
This is why blogging largely died out (Alan pointed out in the comments that blogging has definitely not died out, and that there are still bajillions of active blogs. Which is awesome. But it still feels different now, to my curmudgeonish self) , replaced with tweeting. This is why RSS largely died out, (also, not so much actually dying outâ€¦) replaced with algorithmic activity streams. Because itâ€™s easier to just numbly follow a stream. This has huge implications on how we interact with each other, and how we formalize our thoughts. Itâ€™s a race to the bottom, to the easiest possible form.