The Web Is a Customer Service Medium

Paul Ford on the fundamental question on the web…”why wasn’t I consulted?”

“Why wasn’t I consulted,” which I abbreviate as WWIC, is the fundamental question of the web. It is the rule from which other rules are derived. Humans have a fundamental need to be consulted, engaged, to exercise their knowledge (and thus power), and no other medium that came before has been able to tap into that as effectively.

Ford views this as one of the ultimate problems of this connected space.

WWIC is the thing people talk about when they talk about nicer-sounding things like “the wisdom of crowds” or “cognitive surplus.” It has become the first thing I think about when I think about the web. I’ve spent a lot of time with users, and as part of various web communities. I’ve answered thousands of emails about things I built or said. Now, when I sit down to graffle, I start by asking: “How do we deal with the WWIC problem?” Everything else comes after.

Ford posits that there is a challenge as you consider how to deal with content creation on the Internet as ultimately being a “customer service medium.” You’re weighing out how to deal with the “unconsulted” that will ultimately feel upset (and perhaps angered) when you didn’t immediately take their point into view as you express your opinion.

In this you are preparing yourself…and your content to allow others to “not be outraged about a situation they read on the Internet.


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