Notorious VC Fred Wilson has strong
opinions about the future of social media.
“I believe that we are headed to a world in which everyone will
share their lives with the rest of the world via the Internet. That
is social media. It’s a huge movement and we are at the start of
it,” he recently proclaimed on his blog.
Over the years I’ve heard many futurists express similar
sentiments about the direction of our species, arguing that the
benefits of ubiquitous life-streaming, transparency, and the
sharing of all information are so powerful that they will trump
people’s reluctance to open up their lives to the rest of the
world. While I certainly agree that we are probably at the start of
open information movement and that pervasive sharing is a
useful trend on which to base forward-looking extrapolations, I
nevertheless find it highly unlikely that ALL people will choose to participate, especially
over the next 20 years.
Considering that we co-exist in a complex environment in which
different people with very different personalities, cultures and
behaviors each compete for resources and control, betting on such a
simple future seems to leave a great many other futures out of the
How is the digital revolution shaping the way we interact with
media? Below is a cool concept video exploring how the internet has
already changed the way we consume and share information. It then
presents a timeline into the next 40 years, giving us a vision of
how content may be consumed in the future.
Traditional information sources like books, newspapers, and even
your own experiences may be fully replaced by new interfaces, like
electronic paper, simulated reality through virtual worlds, and
memory sharing among the masses.
I've seen a bunch of posts bubble up over the past few days that are really sparking my curiousity about what is really going on with Twitter, so I need to do a little brain dump. Bear with me.
An article by Rosabeth Moss Kanter was just published today on the Harvard Business Review website, titled On Twitter and in the Workplace, It's Power to the Connectors. In it, she highlights the fact that there is an organizational trend moving away from the hierarchical networks of the 20th century, and towards complex, distributed, non-hierarchical structures of business organization and leadership. She also points out that success today is based on a person's ability to leverage power and influence within their social networks, to act as "connectors" between people and information, and in turn build social capital. She leaves the evaluation of the significance of Twitter open-ended, but she lays out a few characteristics of Twitter that I found most interesting:
In the World According to Twitter, giving away access to information rewards the giver by building followers. The more followers, the more information comes to the giver to distribute, which in turn builds more followers. The process cannot be commanded or controlled; followers opt in and out as they choose. The results are transparent and purely quantitative; network size is all that matters. Networks of this sort are self-organizing and democratic but without any collective interaction.
(just keep those points in mind, I'm going to come back to it)
If a virtual world works, then you can live for eternity. A new online memorial, EternalSpace, not only lets friends and family celebrate your life after death, but can be used while alive to send messages to people - friends, family and others - well into the future. It's social media feature let's you gather family and friends together virutally to share stories or view a pre-recorded greeting that can be preserved for eternity.
Following is a description of this service...while designed primarily for grieving loved ones, it's possiblities are interesting to imagine:
EternalSpace™ (www.EternalSpace.com) unveiled a completely new type of online memorials, an immersive, multidimensional experience, that allows family, friends, colleagues, and well-wishers to connect emotionally while sharing and preserving the cherished memories of departed family members or friends - forever. Personal memorials at EternalSpace.com are peaceful, serene online environments for sharing thoughts or uploading photos and videos that celebrate a life for the days, months and years to come. EternalSpace memorials can be started or added to any time and passed to future generations who can learn about their heritage and experience first-hand accounts of their ancestors.