I watched a video by Clay Shirky titled “Clay Shirky on Love, Internet Style” and it made me think about the current cultural transformation being fueled by the conversational web. The tipping point for the transformation is at the intersection of human interactions and technology.
You ask “What cultural transformation?” Well consider the state of affairs we are all witnessing and consider the related implications. We are on the verge of a cultural transformation fueled by the people and for the people. This transformation is enabled because of the conversational web and the related social technologies. Reflect on the following:
- Global Economic unprecedented meltdown which promises to fuel further disruption
- Political corruption being exposed by the selfishness of political leaders seeking economic gains and self defined power
- A government bailout process which is fueling massive debt on the back of all consumers
- Business leaders of some of our largest institutions failing to manage effectively and yet expect to keep their jobs and pay.
- The conversational web “illuminates the people’s” disgust with business and government leaders selfishness and incompetence
Thanks to widespread incompetence, american management is on its way to becoming an international laughingstock. Faith in American financial sobriety has been widely undermined by the subprime mess. Added to our lack of financial stability we have political scandals, corporate corruption and our government throwing money at problems that money will not solve.
It is becoming very apparent that governing for the people has been replaced by governing for personal gains. Business leaders also seem to think that their business is nothing more than a means to their own personal ends without regard for employees, stockholders or customers. The people are fed up, disgusted and the conversations are swelling into a tsunami of anger and a demand for change. History has shown these repeated behaviors but never before in history have the people been so connected and able to speak up like what we are witnessing today.
Is There a Shift From Selfishness to Serving?
In contrast to what we are witnessing in the “public journals of failure” there is explosive growth of people power fueled by the conversational web. The power is fueled by “free” commerce generated by and through community conversations. There are hundreds of thousands of “communities” which serve the interest and needs of millions of people. Whether it is help finding a job, information or tips on how to simply use all this social technology, people are serving people for free. The act of serving people is creating new value grounded in the fundamental principles of “love”. Love is unconditional, selfless and motivated to serve the interest of others before self interest.
You probably never thought of using the internet as an “act of love” but in essence the act is in of itself the most profound motivator of human behavior. A wise man once said “you reap what you sow” and history has clearly demonstrated the profound truth that sowing selfishness begets self consumption which begets selfish acts. Selfish acts are motivated by self gain at the expense of others. Over time selfishness begets self destruction and we are witnessing it through institutional failures whose purpose was intended to serve the interest of others but instead has served the interest of the few.
We are at the dawning of a new era of “we the people” verses they the business or government. This era is fueled by transparency, conversations and the influence of “crowds”. Crowds of people, connected, conversing and created new value using new mediums that accelerate change. The collective influence is a tsunami of change and its power will increase as technology fuels conversational convergence. The years ahead will bring about a cultural transformation motivated to serve one another instead of the few. The transformation will create a new economy which emerges from the innovation spawned by the conversations of one to one to millions.
Business and government will have to change or the threat of a revolution by the people and for the people may just become the ignition for the coming cultural transformation. Make sense? Agree or disagree?
What say you?