The internet can act as an agent.
For example, people can take a message output by an organisation and propagate it with great ease. They are acting as an agent. Re-Tweet, blog post and everything else in between allows this to happen. We have known about this phenomenon for twenty years and it is in the PR literature.
We have known that this form of agency is not limited to people. Technologies do this too. They can monitor websites and alert and broadcast content easily. All the news media monitoring services do this. CyberAlert.com has been offering this automated service for more than a decade and a half.
But now we are moving into an era when internet agency reprocesses information and prompts action; acquires new intelligence and identifies new knowledge and then provokes action in its own right and without human interference. At the same time, such capability offers a new, different, and for some, threatening future.
It would not surprise anyone to find an exchange that would provide data on the relative value of Avious Points, Tesco Clubcard points and Bitcoin. This would be a new form of financial exchange based on new forms of wealth and currency.
What we would see is an internet capability to buy things that stepped round existing currencies.
What is more important is that it would have crossed national and currency boundaries as well.
True international currencies with global exchange rate could be a reality. Such ideas go much further than just the crypto currencies. Such an activity can take place without any recourse to existing currencies, governments, cenral banks or regulators. Their success is completely dependent on international trust, goodwill and reputation.
With such benefits they can also also interact with the existing currencies.
It may be worth having a look at: http://www.topcashback.co.uk. The idea already exists. We have already entered into such an economy. The idea of radical agency is with us already.
For traditional PR people this is something of a problem. Interactions with the Wikipedia world is beginning to have some sensible resonance with the profession (and less so for the cowboys). This is a good thing because and automated system of creating corporate presence in Facebook based on the Wikipedia profile is happening now. A lot of companies did not lift a finger and yet find themselves with a Facebook presence in their name. These forms of radical internet agency are becoming ever more sophisticated.
The intermediaries of a bygone day no longer have exclusive rights.
The idea that 'publics' form round issues or that there are groups of people who own a 'stake' in organisation even if they are not shareholders is now of a distant age. The 'organisation' is now a number of value added, if intangible, content assets that it may not have had a hand in creating. If you like, computer generated assets.
Radical internet agency is an interesting area for PR practice. It is part of reputation management and management of intellectual assets that even the organisation may not be aware of.