On two recent occasions I have been confronted with the realities of the information and population explosion. Sharing a meal with a well informed professional person, we have mentioned leaders in our respective fields of work, only to be faced with completely blank looks. These are social trials .... either trying to hide our shock at another's ignorance, or even worse pretending to know who is being discussed. It can be really quite embarrassing if we don't openly understand and acknowledge the reality of the situation. It has always happened to a certain extent, but it is getting increasingly difficult to keep up. And there is little authenticity in pretending.
In the revised Shift Happens film (below) it quotes that the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years, there were 3000 books published today, 2.7 billion searches performed on google this month . . .
Which is why computers are no longer optional... and why social network sites have literally exploded. We need to manage all the connections and all the information. The truth is really quite profound. We cannot manage without people networks, where we have connections with lots and lots of other people. And with those connections can come a measure of confidence. Perhaps we don't need to be trying desperately to absorb so much information, perhaps it is OK to let others know lots of other things we don't . . . but are only a click or a call away? We need people, and we need to build trusting relationships with those people in order to collaborate.
I think that that this is a truly wonderful thing.
Memberships to associations and groups have in one sense become short hand personal branding. We scan through people's online profiles, including their memberships, as a way of creating a picture of that person.
I was fascinated reading Roland Harwood's post on the development of cities.There is certainly no doubt in my mind that self-organisation has already happened with regard social networking sites.
The challenge is to design systems evolutionary enough and quickly enough to ensure their relevance . . . next week.