As I do not know where I will end up, one of the things that I like to think about is the business models of internet startups and how technology has changed culture. I believe that the major cultural change since I have been born is the creation of the internet for the general public.
As a disclaimer, I was born in 1985 and grew up using computers. I don’t think the internet had a lot of impact on culture until it was available to the general public.
Additionally, I think web 1.0 was useful because it served as an extended public library. The potential of the internet did not exist until web 2.0 where individuals began to easily produce content. The rise of web 2.0 allowed for the development of all of the social networking sites, such as facebook, that we all use commonly. Both web 1.0 and 2.0 were significant in many realms, I will not discuss the potential economic implications of these developments. Instead, I want to write a few paragraphs about the role that these changes have in our social development.
I believe that our social development mirrors our evolutionary development. This is to say that the same types of changes can occur in both our biology and our social structure. In evolution, there are two main theories about how we progress genetically. The first is a linear analysis in which we slowly change to a more advanced form. We also have punctuated equilibrium. Punctuated equilibrium are quick changes in the evolutionary direction of a species. In my mind, these occur because of quick changes in which the organism is evolving. These quick changes suggest that there are a multitude of niches that an organism can evolve into. Consequently, the species available evolve to fill these niches. These two process are not opposed, instead, these process can co-occur depending upon changes in the environment of the species. When there is a significant change in the environment punctuated equilibrium occurs. When it is just normal fluctuation linear change occurs.
To relate this to our social structure, we can look at the internet in it’s 2.0 version. The distinction between web 1.0 and 2.0 was shift from generated content to a focus on user generated content. Web 1.0 was a digitization of our libraries. We no longer had to visit a place that had existed for generations for knowledge. Web 2.0 is different. I think that the development of web 2.0 serves as a device that is one of the factors that would initiate punctuated equilibrium. The best example of this, in my mind, is twitter. Here, the purpose of the network was to generate short content from all users to be communicated to anyone that was in his or her network. This change is reflected in the societal shift to viral marketing as a preferred method and by the IPO of Twitter. The changes to our society, which we are currently close to reaching its tipping point, are unknown. I do not know what will come out of it. I do, however, know that the millennials will play a substantial role in the transformation of the future of our society and our business models. We are the generation that grew up with these changes. I said that I did not want to discuss my opinions of business, but simply, the models are probably outdated.