July 15, 2012 5 Comments
Why has digital social media so riveted our attention? It’s an evolutionary advance on a pre-existing massive trend – the desire to communicate without the barriers of time, geography, filtering, culture, and language.
Books enabled the communicating of ideas way outside of the physical sphere, and even time frame, of the writer’s direct influence. What once would have been spoken around a campfire or in a small gathering can now echo down through generations.
Radio transcended geography. Recorded audio broke the limits of geography and time.
Television added the visual element, and some of what was communicated through the eye-gate leapt over cultural and linguistic barriers.
Social media broke down the filters between one-to-one communication. Digital audio, video, and writing enable all barriers to come down, though linguistic and cultural elements are still problematic to a degree. Communication can be both real-time and archived.
Interestingly enough, when it comes to computing, we see a parallel trend toward natural and frictionless interface – we’ll slowly but surely abandon the very artificial keyboard and mouse for the more natural elements of voice and gesture. Siri and Kinect are glimpses. In 10 years, we will laugh hysterically at our current digital/human interfaces.
So what? Well, here’s a couple so-what’s to think about:
- Digital social media as we have experienced it for the past few years is not some isolated or uniquely amazing thing. It’s part of an inevitable current of communication evolution. And it cannot be static because the current has been rapidly flowing for centuries in one direction (toward communication without the barriers of time, geography, filtering, culture, and language).
- We can opt out of participation in specific elements of digitally-fueled communications, but we can’t avoid the direction of the current.
- Any business approach based on the above inexorable trends stands a far better chance of long-term success than tweaking some existing business model that tries to maintain the status quo or go upstream against the current.
A lot of loose ends here, but I’ll just hit publish and ask what you think (feel free to wax eloquent in the comments with your thoughts).
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