Previously, for an individual to distribute a message to many people, they were restricted by the high cost of production and means of distribution (ie. Newspapers, TV, radio). These methods sometimes required expensive capital equipment and investment. Now, due to new technology and the Internet, the cost for an individual is minimal and the barriers to entry are low.
As a result this allows for an increased amount of experimentation that would have been impractical in a high cost environment.
While the means of distribution has changed, motives generally remain the same. People are driven by the same forms of motivation such as need for autonomy, competence, membership and sharing.
Some motives that were previously personal, due to the impractical cost of distribution before, are now public. For example, this includes hobbies and journals, which are now distributed in the form of blogs. This would have been impractical with the means of distribution prior to the Internet.
Success can be predicted, to some extent, by considering what motives are being satisfied, and if the reason it has not occured yet was due to restricted means of distribution.
In the past, free time was used in passive consumption, such as watching TV. With new means of production, the trend is away from passive consumption to active production and consumption. This allows for projects where a small amount of value produced by each person on a large scale can create large value for everyone.