If the medium is the message what is the medium of the internet?
I would hypothesize that the current medium of many sites is profiling for advertising purposes. I say this because the primary method used to monetize internet sites/resources is through advertisement.
Assuming profiling as the medium, one can parse the medium and content of the most popular sites:
Facebook realizes the medium through the content of interactions with your social network, that is Facebook deduces your interests from that of you and your friends; Google realizes the medium through the content of your searches, that is Google deduces your interests via your search queries; Youtube realizes the medium through which videos you watch. I contend that most major internet sites can be viewed through the lens of profiling as the medium.
What does this mean?
This is different than the realization in the art world that the consumers of art needed to participate in the art. The art world viewed this as more of an invitation to participate in the art in order to make it richer, this was a more transparent interchange…even if the consumer was at first unaware that they were participating in the art. In the case of Google or Facebook the medium is almost completely unrelated to the content…it is a bait and switch. The user is nearly unaware of how they are being targeted and tracked, although this is possibly starting to change.
What direction should be go?
Perhaps we should follow the lead of the art world and make the user a more witting participant to the medium. Having more control over and transparency about how the medium is representing you seems to be the solution.