Update 5/5: - Umair has a nice discussion going on over here that started right after I spoted this - it must be in the air! I promise to do a follow-on post as my post seems to have struck a nerve, basedo n all the comments below - yeah!]
Confession: For the past few months I have been growing increasingly bored and frustrated with the shortsightedness of many on the power and impact of social software for business and connectedness between people and ideas. Yes, I am oft too earnest and impatient on this stuff - but I mean - why settle?
The last few weeks have really driven that feeling home. Time to reflect on long airplane trips, meeting with folks doing BIG stuff around the world, taking a pause from the echo chamber and some inspiring conversations with some really smart folks, have emboldened me to finally write some of this down. Many overheard conversations at Web2Expo yesterday further added to my feeling of malaise. I am dropping this rant quickly but promise to focus more in these topics in the coming weeks and months:
- The social web and web2.0 - c'mon, this is so much more than throwing sheep and twittering that we are stuck in airports. As I have ranted on this before, in various ways, if you *only* look at these tools as a bigger megaphone for communication you are not looking hard enough! Think real innovation, business and cultural transformation!
- Back in September, I was sitting with a friend at a conference and he said it best: "never before have so many done so little with so much" [I will provide attribution once/if I get approval from him]
- The power of tech to bring people together is REAL and VITAL [my trip to Israel reminded me of this]
- This is only the beginning of some really cool stuff - the beginning. Per Clay's point yesterday: "the size of our collective cognitive surplus is so large that just 1% participation can bring about HUGE change.
- How do we encourage and nurture greater participation and develop an "architecture of participation" [nice turn of phrase clay - more on this to come] that benefits business, cultural and political innovation.
- O'reilly yesterday finally discussed using this stuff to solve big problems - as the pied piper for many developers - I thank you for leading them to a higher cause - hope they hear you.
Now, I am not saying we have all the answers or even know how any of this will pan out. Existing infrastructures [technical, financial, organizational and cultural] mean certain changes will be slow while others will circumvent the roadblocks that stand in their way.
What I do know is that if you do not ask the right questions up front and reach for the sky - well - you just ain't gonna get very far.
This post is a nod to Greg and my work designing and launching the Info Center - the project that is still my touchstone for the power and promise of integrating the physical with the digital at the intersection of technology, people and business - "saving lives, baby, saving lives"]
[Addendum: As I was writing this I noticed Umair's post. Lately, we are channeling each other on this stuff - I nod to his eloquence and ability to lay out the issues].