I just saw a Piper Jaffray PowerPoint (sorry, I lost the link) that said that time spent on "user-generated content" sites soared from 3 percent in April of 2005 to 31 percent now: a tenfold increase in just two years and a now huge proportion of time spent online.
Banking disintermediation has provoked lots of analysis and writing in certain circles. I still think that Ron Chernow, in his book House of Morgan and his follow-on clarification The Death of the Banker has done the best job of explaining this. Put simply, an intermediary comes into between two people. A banker takes deposits from Jack and makes loans to Jill. Before the information age, the value of knowing that Jack has money and Jill needs it is valuable. Very valuable. After the information, Jack and Jill just might find each other without the banker. Bankers as intermediaries become less important, less powerful. Hence, banking disintermediation, a revolution in finance.
But it suddenly occurred to me that the role of intermediary is eroding everywhere. Bands can now put their music out to the public without using a record label. Individuals can post news or commentary on the web without the sanction of a newspaper or book publisher. It could be that we're witnessing media disintermediation.
What is next? Perhaps corporate disintermediation, a phase of economics when the corporation no longer plays intermediary between the customer and the employee who creates value for the customer. Or perhaps politics that cuts out the politician and is replaced by participatory democracy.
Stage one of the information age has been laying in place the infrastructure and technology that connects everyone with everyone. Stage two of the information age may well be a spate of self-organizing complexity that displaces the old organizational and process structures that depends upon a lack of information and concentration of decision-making.