During the Industrial Age, information was property — held by few, information required money and brought power. With the rise of the Information Age, information became water. We all need it, sometimes it falls from the sky, but there are complex rights. Like water, there were information sources and streams. Information was produced and consumed.

A new era is emerging, where information is oxygen. We can’t survive for 3 minutes without it. In fact, if we need to wait for more than 200ms for information, we get restless. We have cloud computing.  Linked Data defies boundaries and does not conform the the bounds of its container.  Increasingly our data is unstructured, expanding or contracting to fit the shape of its emerging purpose. Open Data is creating an increased transparency, where we can see our government at work or observe trends taking place in the real world through weather, agricultural or census data, to name just a few open data sets.

I found the Scholarly Kitchen questioning the metaphor of information as property in 2009, and then suggesting information as streams in 2011.  Our language adapts to the changing world around us.

Like ripples in the water as an unseen fish comes up for air, we can see change in our culture through metaphors that move through our written and spoken language.

What do you think?