Monday, June 1, 2009


The times they are a-changin’. ~ Bob Dylan

We are truly entering a new era. I went to the Book Expo in NYC this weekend and it reminded me just how much the times are changing. I listened to two speakers in particular share about social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents (on twitter @chrisbrogan), and Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics (on twitter @equalman). It really was the talk of the conference. And it was apparent from being there that not just publishing, but our entire world is truly transforming before our eyes and we have a choice…to shift along with the changes and the new paradigm or to get left behind.

Over the last year, the publishing industry has seen record losses. I heard numbers like they have seen 87% losses from prior years. That number is astounding. But when you think about it, everything about publishing and our world is changing. Due to a very significant part to the internet and what has resulted from it – and we have only seen the beginning.

Expert Kevin Kelly, who spoke at past TED conferences ( talks about three distinctive stages of the internet. The first stage we saw was one which linked computer to computer, called the net. The second stage, which we are in now but transitioning out of, connected web page to web page, called the Web. The era of google and web pages is about finding information, putting information out there and gaining increased access to information via web pages. However, this is web 1.0, which as Chris Brogan put it, is a one-way web in which data is more unidirectional. The third stage of the internet (web 2.0) links data to data, which Kevin Kelly referred to as the one (machine) and Chris Brogan believes is more 2 way.

As I learn more and see more about social networks, it is actually a movement towards the creation of what is being called a social graph. That is, a way for each of us to share, promote and even brag about ourselves but more importantly to listen and connect back up with others. It is, as Chris Brogan claims, a way for us to bring humanity back to our business and our communication.

It is an interesting concept, but basically one that seems to have people falling on two sides. When I speak about the web and social networks, some people react and say that the web is a horrible waste of time, a degradation of our communication by the use of only 140 characters, and something that has disconnected us. Yet on the flip side, it is bringing people across continents together; across racial, ethnic and cultural boundaries together; it is forcing us to begin to communicate and research through Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project ( shows it may even be bringing families together by reducing television time and increasing interactive online learning and communication time.

Either way, as I see it, it is like any other paradigm shift and change. You can complain about it and resist and be left behind or you can move forward and change with the times. As the typewriter switched to the word processor to the computer to the laptop and now to even more mobile devices or the tape to the cd to ipod and other mp3 technologies, many people resisted, but ultimately the change happened, so they have either jumped on the band wagon or gotten left behind. What choice do you have? As the world structures around us – education, health care, financial structures, political systems and even communications mechanisms are changing, how will you choose to move forward into the new era?

Oh yeah, and I am on twitter @pilarstella, come join the fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment