A digital world of infinite choice has resulted in many of the things we've known and love breaking up. Some have even disappeared altogether.
The best example of this is the news. For generations now we have relied on a trusted voice to bring us stories of what is going on around us. Newspapers - then joined by television - became the authority on the news. But even this is changing in the digital world.
We don't need a single voice to bring us the news anymore. RSS feeds can filter in stories from multiple sources from around the globe. Even Twitter breaks news faster than a traditional paper, or waiting for the ten o'clock edition (look how the story of Michael Jackson's death spread ...)
What I find most exciting is that my news is personalised. I pick what feeds I want, who I follow on Twitter, and what volume of information I receive. The authoritative voice - which particularly in the UK is frequently clouded in bias - is gone. In fact my world feels lighter without the burden of the doom spun by mainstream media. We might question who the "trusted" voice is - where do we go to find the facts. Wikipedia has demonstrated that collectively we have the ability to piece the fragments together, to build the facts ourselves.
Whilst newspapers and tv stations struggle - and some close shop altogether - surely we benefit from fragmentation. What it gives us is the ability to personalise our media.
For the music industry, this has been perceived as a threat. Consumption has changed as people move away from buying whole albums in favour of downloading single tracks. Mainstream radio faces competiton from bespoke services like Last.fm.
The threat of fragmentation is an opportunity for any artist - who can realise that they too have a chance to have their work heard. And most of all for the audience - who now have unlimited choice to access what they want to hear.
Image by Rick Heath on Flickr.