An interesting story landed in my inbox this morning. Thought I’d share it.
It’s a column at Forbes.com written by Joshua-Michele Ross, called The Rise of the Social Nervous System.
In the column, Ross argues that since more than half of the earth’s population is now connected in one way or another to the internet (1.6 billion by computer, another 4 billion on mobile devices), social media has transformed the web from an information source into a “hive mind” where common knowledge and information is shared by billions across the globe.
Ross tries to make the point that this rapidly expanding global social media network will eventually help end war and disease and better all mankind.
“The social nervous system makes us aware of a broader context of relationship with humanity. My immediate relationships–with my family, my city and state–begin to span the globe. We can leverage the ubiquity of communications to coordinate real world activity–and just about anyone can do it. Even a kid with a mobile phone can capture a revolution.”
A noble and lofty idea, but one I doubt will come to fruition. While I’m sure the social media wave (blogs, facebook, etc) will create major change in our world, from the end of the newspaper business as we know it, to a radical departure in how government and businesses relate to the people, I think that in the end, left to their own devices, people will use this new technology to catch up on gossip, learn about their neighbors and find out about the coolest new stuff to buy.
It’s human nature. In the end, everyone wants to hang out in their living room and shoot the breeze with their friends. That living room is now an online web app, and their friends might be 1,000 miles away, but we still want to catch up, read about the topics that interest us, and buy cool toys. And that’s not a bad thing. What do you think?