The notion of the global village remains powerful, but individual sociability will never operate on a global scale. Large social networks will always be mediated by and constructed through smaller communities and individual relationships. Online social networks demonstrate that digital networks will never merely map the social, but inevitably develop their own dynamics through which they become the social.
The interaction of people with information systems is recurrently marked by play and experimentation, as people test the limits of their settings and manage the consequences of unexpected interactions and altered contexts. Digital social structures disrupt the boundaries that define social communities, but the reassessment of context and performance that accompanies it is endlessly generative, creative and disruptive to established business norms.
These digital social structures are a constant evolution of shape and purpose with end users gaining more insight into purposes and subsequent opportunities.The predominant operators have been making significant economic gains from all the traffic generated from digital social structures primarily through advertising propositions to marketers.
The Rise of the Individual
The evolving space of social mediums and the learned behavior of individuals is creating a rise in opportunities for the individuals, not only the operators, to gain economically. More "networks" are being launched with enticements to individuals to share in the advertising revenue generated from the traffic created by individual use.
Those that previously may have been labeled "amateur" in big business acumen are being enabled to be "professionals" at using the medium of social networks for economic gains. Users are finding ways to gain economically from their personal and professional uses of "networks".
Swarms of users are collaborating with the aim of increasing economic returns on their time, talent and contribution to the medium of social networks. The collaboration is happening on a global scale, across all cultural, geographic and economic divides.
The dissemination of new discoveries, tools, economic models and user generated technological opportunities spreads across networks globally at the click of a mouse. Individuals have become empowered by technology to create, deploy and establish "beach fronts of business opportunity" for economic gains.
The Tipping Point of Individuals Becoming the Organization
Today the technological landscape is dominated by formal corporations who have historically produced the very technology and related economic models that has enabled individuals to use technology for collective gains i.e. Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. etc. Recently the giants of industry have awoken to small start ups who have introduced a new medium that further enables individuals to create new forms of value for the user communities globally i.e. Facebook, YouTube, MySpace etc etc.
These start ups have become big overnight and are either being bought up by the giants or chased for their likely long term value or threat to the giants. The very individuals who created the new mediums for individuals to use globally are a representation of a global audience of entrepreneurs who are creating new ways and new mediums for use of the technology aimed at economic gains and future opportunities.
In Kevin Kelly's book " The New Rules for the New Economy" he states "The big will become small and the small will become big" The shift in power to individuals is the tipping point of enablement of the amateur to become the professional, the entrepreneur to become the titan of market shifts and the individual users to become the new economy.
Individuals, properly constituted into a swarm and unrestricted by the rules of the old business game, are sharing, collaborating and developing creative uses of social mediums and yielding smart results. The rules of the game and the game of business itself are changing. The dynamic of our society, and particularly our new economy, will increasingly obey the logic of networks.
Understanding how networks work will be the key to understanding how the economy works. More, lots more on this later.
What say you?