Multiple Shifts = Massive Change?

by Jay Deragon on 12/24/2008

levelofchangeAs we end 2008 I was reflecting on all the changes fueled by the social web within the last year. Disruptive changes which are changing entire industries, our government, our culture and our individual lives on a daily basis. Let’s consider just a few:

Media: Old media institutions like The Chicago Tribune and The New York Times to name are going into bankruptcy largely due to the impact of the social web. Television broadcast viewership is down as more and more people get the news from the web or from their connections.

Businesses: More and more business leaders are recognizing the value of the social web and running to it as a means to re-establish relations with markets, employees and suppliers.

The Economy: We’re in a global economic crisis and money and credit are not the problem. Rather the problem is one of leadership of government, institutions and business.

Globalization: The economic crisis has clearly demonstrated that we are all connected regardless of location. The economic “system” is not isolated to one government, one country, one industry and the implications of this shift affect every global citizen.

Knowledge: The social web has accelerated knowledge. People are learning from people more than they are from media. The masses are informed like never before and knowledge transfer moves at the click of a mouse freely.

People: The reach and richness of the social web has and will continue to create more influence on people than anything previously in the history of mankind. Conversations fuel connections. Connections fuel further conversations and the collective dynamic increases participation and influence faster than any other dynamic every witnessed before.

Politics: President Elect Obama campaigned on the theme of change. He was the first President elect to leverage the power of the social web to influence voters and reach large audiences. His continued use of social media and leveraging of his site will set a series of new dynamics in politics and “the people” are already responding favorably. This Presidency promises to be a truly historic event given the mounting issues of global complexity.

All the parts of the “system” we live in today are being transformed before our eyes. Some will resist the change and others will embrace. I few will lead it.

How Fast Are The Shifts Happening?

Kate Carruthers writes: Social media is being woven into the fabric of our daily lives almost without us noticing. Most mainstream news sites now have user comments and voting, and they embed video that we can share.

Sites like Facebook and MySpace are going mainstream; even parents are getting involved so as to interact with their children. Business networking sites like LinkedIn and Xing are providing useful ways to connect for business purposes. These sites are using web 2.0 style social computing features to drive user engagement.

Presently there are more that 100 million websites according to Netcraft and many of them now incorporate social media and web 2.0 elements.

There are a couple of important things to note before we consider technology. Firstly, human beings are inherently social creatures and we formed social networks for generations without the benefit of any technology apart from language. Secondly, the speed of technological change means that much of our opinion of what is important today will be proved wrong, possibly even a few months from now.

Technology is evolving fast. For example six months ago most people thought twittering was something done by birds. But 2008 saw micro blogging via Twitter become widely recognised as an innovative social media platform by the masses and grows daily.

With the promise of new technology which will fuel conversational convergence 2009 the old saying that the more things change the more things remain the same will no longer be valid. Rather the more things change the faster things will change. Stay tuned as we witness a time in history which will create more change and faster than ever before.

What say you?

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