The effects of the digital revolution are no longer constrained by the boundaries of the internet. Whether it be social, political or economic, its effects can be witnessed at all levels of society. It has fundamentally altered the behaviours of individuals, governments and companies in how they communicate and interact with one another.
The tribes are taking on the giants
Think back to the recent revolutions in Iran and North Africa.
The European advocacy debates that are changing the public’s perception on vaccination.
The NGOs who are denouncing icons of industry, such as Volkswagen. Can you see the common thread? How about how Apple re-invented the music industry with iTunes; tele-communications with the iPhone and FaceTime; and soon education with iBooks? These government, advocacy and business revolutions all used the web as either a communication vehicle or as the foundation for their new model.
The digital revolution is here and it is changing every facet of our environment. Last year, Seth Godin argued that any individual or small entity, with good leadership, could build a tribe that becomes a powerful vehicle of change. We agree. The digital revolution has enabled like-minded individuals to form groups in spite of geographic constraints and unabled them to become more effective. These hyper-connected tribes can now decide of the rise and fall of giants.
It’s not about what it amounts to but how we use it
I won’t be delving into the sterile debate about what these changes amount to. Malcolm Gladwell made some controversial remarks regarding the impact of social media in the North African revolutions. To summarise the interview, Gladwell believes that social media is just a tool and people organised protests long before the internet was invented. I believe it is dangerous to minimise the web’s significance to just a tool because it can also be used for ill-intent. The question for ZN is how do we adapt and make the most of the internet to drive change.
What are your thoughts?