Thursday, 11 February 2010


The Industrial Revolution overhauled everything - from villages to cities. Automation and Process became king. Cheap, cheaper & cheapest are the rules. Scale it, refine it, make it more efficient. While we think that the Industrial Revolution is over, and it probably has run it's course - we've still not figured it all out.

So we might have amazing technology - and we might have a globablised economy, but simply ask someone who works in a sweatshop in Bangalore or someone feeling trapped in an outsourcing call centre in Nottingham and you'll quickly find out that industrialisation is far from perfect. And it won't be. Ever.

We've learned how to change things more efficiently. We've learned how to make things more efficiently. We've learned how to move things more efficiently. We've learned about scale. We've learned to adapt to more change faster too.

I guess that's one reason why adoption of tech moved gets quicker and quicker. Radio took 38 years to get to 50 million users. TV took 12 years. Facebook took one year. Ouch.

So I guess when people get unsettled by the current online/social revolution - it's understandable, but we can't possibly expect it to be perfect, can we?

It's going to be full of holes. But maybe fewer than the past?

Interestingly, though, we generally expect change to be perfect. We complain when our new technology isn't perfect. We expect that it should be. For many *things* we use at home, that's a good thing - gas cookers, boilers, toasters, microwaves as a few examples. We expect that if it comes from a centralised source that it should be perfect. They had control and they should know better.

But, it's not like that.

The web is just a young thing, yet so vast and crucially decentralised (by design) that it can't be tested and brought to the market from a controlled environment. There is so little control in the web that we can't expect it to work "out of the box" like an Apple Computer.

Maybe we can learn a bit of patience - taking comfort in the idea (that I think might be right) that we are still ironing out the details in something that started years ago.

Taking a nod from TechCrunch, when online search was still figuring out how to work, just ten years ago those active in the space felt a lot like people active in the social space now. Okay, so a lot more people are looking - and our levels of connectivity are far higher now - but that's just showing how important it is.

What we - together - do with social/new media will determine what the online landscape looks like in another 10 years time?


RobinsonS said...

Good points, well put.

On a similar note I wrote this last year. And Neil Young hit the nail on the head in his desperately sad "Rockin' in the Free World".

Possibly social/new media will make a difference, maybe of late it's made people more accountable through online campaigns eg Twitter vs Trafigura

Let's hope so!


theWeir said...


Thanks for your comment - and yep, I like what you wrote too.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that authenticity is becoming important as we live our lives with all these new tools.

It's like everyone knows everyone's business... but in a good way, right?!

Thanks for reading too.