Have you noticed how, in any new sector, marketplace or trend, pioneering rapidly creates followers, innovation normalizes and conventions form relatively quickly? That’s why marketing textbooks advising brands how to stand out from the competition regularly champion the war-cry, ‘Break all the rules!’ Because, somehow, there always are rules, no matter how recently conceived or implemented.

Often, the answer isn’t to break all the rules. It’s to understand the rules and why they came about, and thus to identify which rules exist to be broken and which rules are there for a very good reason.

So, applied to the Internet at large, I would differentiate between those new norms which are a function of ‘open source’ in the widest possible sense of the term – that is, the ability to view, share, adopt and benefit from the innovations of others across the board, which is how we end up encountering many of the same things in lots of different places – and those that are more a function of a lack of imagination or an excessive willingness to follow the herd.

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