The pace of innovation is not just fast, it’s increasingly happening at a mind numbingly rapid rate. Where is it all going?
Working in a leadership position with a company pioneering innovation in the SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) space has afforded me a unique vantage point from which to witness and participate in this evolution. What continues to amaze me is how these innovations tend to happen simultaniuously. I’ve seen multiple projects enter development only to be halted when it’s discovered that a competitor has gotten the jump on our dev process. Is it chance? Corporate espionage? Clairvoyance? I suspect, no.
The reason is less nefarious- we’re all headed to same destination, just taking different paths. The increasing accuracy and users adoption of LBS led to the rise of Gowalla, FourSqare and scores of similar services. Smartphone app use led to rise the new gaming revolution. The increasing social isolation caused by technological advancement was answered by the explosion of the social media jaggornauts, Facebook and Twitter along with countless other similar services.
The logical question is, where is this going? The answer isn’t in the path, its the destination. That destination is personal dialogue and technology convergence. Written communication is a good example, but oft misunderstood, of this recent progression. Just a few years ago hand written letters dropped in the mail were the preferred method for interpersonal written communication. We moved to email then quickly to text messaging and social media. Many people assume this progression was an answer to our desire for speedy communication. I challenge that supposition. I posit that our core desire isn’t for faster communication but rather the working our of a desire in all of us to communicate MORE not FASTER. Next time you look at a Facebook feed, ask yourself “what value is this person communicating to their audience” the likely answer will be, “nothing”. We’re not trying to communicate more quickly, we’re trying to communicate in a way which allows our minds to process “out loud” via a constant monologue. We crave self expression in a way which happens in real time to the largest audience we can acquire.
This coming data tidal wave can not be stopped, the best we can hope for is to make social data more relevant by filtering through the noise which is the natural consequence to our growing lack of ability to self sensor our information dissemination. The next frontier will be defined by opposing data forces. First will be the increasing number of “bullhorn platforms” we’re using to express this constant monologue. The second, and I believe more important, is the abilty to fish through this ocean of big data and come out with the prized catch - quality data. The person or company that solves this problem will take their place amongst the “new” juggernauts.
In the meantime, we’ll all continue to drown in the sea of everyone else’s ”me data”.