There are two consistent aspects of the conversations that i have around the Social Age: what can it give us, and what should we fear. More specifically, ‘how can we exploit it’, and ‘what if we don’t like it’. Both sentiments are, to large extent, moot points: this is not a system or a process, it’s an ecosystem shift. Like it or loathe it, welcome it or reject it, the new reality is upon us, and our only options are to adapt, or to fail.
The Social Age sees a significant rebalancing of power, the rise of social communities and devolved authority, moderated through reputation, but also the emergence of new types of power, and new modes of knowledge. We cannot yet fully understand the mechanisms that underly the change, but we certainly observe it’s impacts, in everything from politics to retail, research to conflict.
When i new piece of technology lands, or a new market opens up, it’s feasible to exploit it, but with an ecosystem shift, new niches emerge, and our very size and scale, our very success in the current space may actively blind us to new potentials, or, worse, actively prevent us from adapting.
This is a time to learn: to learn our way around this new space, to rapidly prototype adaptive strategies, and to learn how to change. Because one thing is clear: our feelings about the Social Age are less relevant than our demonstrated ability to act upon it.
Living in fear is a fast route to failure.