Fifty years ago Marshall McLuhan described the idea of the global village emerging out of the new media. At first we could all see the same things because of television, but that was a one-way connection from broadcaster to viewer. Now, in the YouTube age, everyone is a broadcaster and a viewer.
Hyper-connectivity has enabled many of the attributes of the village to emerge at a global level. And just like the village we can know nearly everybody and everything, including the things our fellow villagers don’t want us to know about them. We are just beginning a new era of dense, ubiquitous networks where everyone is connected to everyone else and where those connections will get deeper over time as the technology continues to advance.
How we work, learn, buy, travel, innovate, govern, heal, and many more human activities will be transformed by the emerging social technologies. Business always was social, but is becoming much more powerfully so.
Watch the video below to hear more about the future of business:
In helping to put this short video together I reached out to several of my friends and acquaintances who are also similarly immersed in the new networks. For all of us it is a world of hyper connected networks and networks of networks. My network becomes your networks and so on. For me this development is no surprise. Twenty five years ago I co-founded along with four others, including Stewart Brand (creator of the Whole Earth Catalog), a company called Global Business Network. Then, we were already employing the far more primitive network technology of the time to enable the emergence of an intelligent global strategic conversation and that conversation is still going on today.
Chris Anderson, the WIRED Editor-in-Chief who just stepped down to become CEO of a micro drone company, talks about what it is like to run a business and live in a world of increasingly dense social connections. Even our machines are getting connected to us and to each other in novel ways. Perhaps nothing will be more dramatic then the socially connected automobile that is enabled to drive itself because of its connections to all the other cars around it, to its environment, to the owner and to massive computing power.
Jennifer Pahlka, the head of Code for America, a volunteer software development
organization serving the unmet needs of local governments around the country.
She sees the potential of transforming how public services are delivered through
the social technologies, connecting citizens to their governments to meet the
most mundane needs of people to do things like get building permits or choose
their kids public school. And, of course, her coders, some of the best in the
world want to use the most accessible and open tools. Because these tools are
designed for the world of social, open, mobile these projects are done for very
low cost and in days not months and years.
And of course non-profits are making brilliant use of social media to pursue their purposes. Kona Shen, a recent graduate of Brown, went right off to Haiti after school to help tackle the desperate poverty made much worse by earthquakes and hurricanes. She created GOALS -- a program to get kids off the ruined streets and into education using soccer. For her generation the social media has become the fabric of relationships with her kids, her supporters/funders, and the local community.