I really enjoyed this Do Lecture from Alan Moore, about how changes in technology are fundamentally changing our behaviour, like movable type did. You might have heard this argument before, but basically; top down organisations are going through their last throes of success, the future will be communities doing it for themselves (it's more nuanced than that of course, but..well, just watch it)
I don't know if he's totally right, but I'm not so sure and I think that's my point: no one does. History is littered with little flags placed in moments in time where someone has pronounced 'The Age is this' 'The death of that' but usually, it's nothing of the sort, it's a little wobble or a bit tacking in the general direction of getting a little better.
I agree that we're all getting more bolshy when told what to do and suspect kids are even worse at accepting hierarchyy than they've always been, but just because our penchant for community is being freed up a little again, but surely that doesn't mean that how we live in communities per se will change?
All communities have hierarchy and leaders - it doesn't matter if that's human communities, chimps or Lions. The strongest stag earns his right to be at the top of the pecking order, the male with the most impressive plumage gets first pick of the females, think we're going back to that...we still want leaders, we still want organisations and institutions to help us live our lives, they'll still guide and soemtimes even tell, but they have to earn our respect, love and adulation, it's no longer theirs by right or due to size, money or whatever.
For brands and stuff, that just means there's no excuse for crap products or marketing that's boring or insults the intelligence. But while we want to partcipate, we still want things that surpise and delight us, things we can't do for ourselves. Yes, we'll enjoy noodling around and making and sharing our own stuff, but we can't be arsed to do the great stuff ourselves.
In other words, make something great and then let me join in.
That's why 'brand as verb' 'brands as conversations' is so much hot air - the good ones always were, it's just that now, no one has to put up with the bad ones.