I’ve discovered a way to see the future, to feel it and experience it as tangibly as this paper in your hands. Ready? Talk with a person 10, 20, or 30 years younger than yourself and observe the differences in your worldviews. How do they perceive themselves? How do they perceive the world? What is “normal” for them? This exercise will highlight your notions of “the way things should be”–in other words–your indoctrinated beliefs/realities. During the conversation notice what you consider to be weird, different, shocking, unbelievable, even taboo. This is your future–welcome to the third millenium. You see, whether you like it or not, the future of this planet is being shaped in the collective consciousness of our children.
From a marketing perspective, each new generation grows more “fickle”, and “hard to reach”. The idea that information just flows from broadcast room to passive audience no longer applies: the audience is no longer listening. We are having conversations: trading emails, posting to websites, chatting and messaging. We are also gathering at coffee shops, malls, and conferences — we’re living a life more real, more engaging, and more vibrant than can be depicted on a glowing screen.
We have all chosen to participate in this time of unprecedented change, technological advancement, and spiritual expansion. The world we experience as changing rapidly is perceived very differently by our children. For them, this acceleration is natural–they are being weaned in a connected world. The power to talk with anyone from a cell phone or via an instant message IS the status quo for them. This power to communicate and collaborate fulfills a deep human desire to connect with others like ourselves.
Consider recorded history: we distinguish different civilizations by their primary technological advancement (The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, The Industrial Age) rather than their socio-political viewpoints (feudalism, socialism, capitalism). Political and social viewpoints do not shape technology, rather, it is technology that shapes our social viewpoints. Today, communication technologies foster an interconnectedness among people that is sparking global solutions and harmony. When world leaders share common concerns and develop relationships (rather than hide behind masks of projected identities) warfare is not only unthinkable, but seen for what it is, ultimately self-defeating.
From the earliest days of the internet, the theme of connectivity has fueled the most popular applications (“killer apps” in computer jargon). EMAIL fostered the flow of ideas throughout academia. The USENET (a group of 50,000 newsgroups created and visited by ordinary people) encompassed topics from the mundane (misc.jobs) to the bizarre (alt.sex.[whatever]). Popular WEBSITES (a.k.a., homesteads, communities, villages) are those built and maintained by people with a passionate point of view and respect for the opinions of others (e.g., slashdot.org, iVillage.com). The desire for interactivity is also spawning even newer media of exchange: witness the popularity of CHAT ROOMs and INSTANT MESSAGING. Contrary to the hopes of corporations worldwide, the internet is filling a need far deeper than shopping, it fulfills our desire to CONNECT.
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.