Insights November 26th, 2020
This past year I spent time searching for the signals of change that indicate that the world is evolving and shifting. And, during the pandemic in 2020 I have been tuning into so many things that are reshaping the world – from mass digitization to the changing energy landscape.
I have identified three areas to get you thinking broadly about the implications of actions of ourselves, our communities, nation states, and companies. I do not aim to be extensive in my analysis or provide complete rationale – that comes in the year following the publishing of these ideas as I track the signals of change around each.
I’m calling 2021 The Year of Transcendence. We are becoming something more aware, more empowered and on a knife’s edge where one wrong turn can lead to deeply challenging times.
We are in collapse – and have been for hundreds of years – and we need a way out. Maybe the areas I discuss here will aid in the ascension out of that? There are three areas of focus that I will spend time researching and advising clients on through 2021:
- Shifting platforms and algorithms
- Transcendent social media
- Water-Food-Energy: Emergent geopolitical theatres
Let’s look at the second – Transcendent Social Media.
In 1993 I joined the ‘Internet Club’ in my first year at university where I started a degree in applied psychology and computing. It was then I saw the potential of global connection by connecting to university archives worldwide. Within a couple of years I was seeing brands, bands, and people tapping into it as a platform to tell their story and share the work they were doing.
In 1994 Geocities popped up as a virtual, cyber-geo-located platform where people selected a ‘city’ in which to list the link to the web pages they owned and operated. The ‘cities’ were named after real cities or regions according to their content. ‘SiliconValley’ and those dealing with entertainment were assigned to “Hollywood” etc. It was a mindset shift towards spaces beyond ‘cyberspace’.
Around the same time a wild Internet businessman called Josh Harris started PSEUDO which was an “online television network.” that started out netcasting 40 radio programs and throwing parties in New York City. In 1999, Harris launched his art project ‘Quiet: We Live in Public’. This was a real social experiment where more than 100 volunteers were contained in a three story loft on Broadway in New York City surrounded by over a hundred surveillance cameras that captured every move, and every ‘resident’ had their own channel through which to watch each other. An Orwellian, Big Brother concept with “a neo-fascistic element.” It also had a steady supply of drugs, alcohol and a gun range.
Both Geocities and ‘Quiet…’ indicated that the Internet could be a congregation and culmination of experiences re-lived through content and connection.
Through the 2000s we saw social networking explode – virtually and literally – MySpace, Friendster, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and other platforms resonate with influencers, creators, brands and ordinary people as places to be who you’ve always wanted to be, rant, celebrate, overshare, and show the hyperbole of their imagined lives. Oh, the field day Freud, Jung, Maslow and others would have had.
In 2020 we’ve seen a mass adoption of digital platforms for connection and we have Zoom as the new, reluctant and sometimes painful social network and now something interesting is happening.
We’re transcending beyond platforms into worlds of personal influence, business and a true representation of ourselves online. There are two interesting observations.
The first is how we’re seeing a Twitter + Only Fans ecosystem where expression, sex and free thought can truly exist. Sex workers are fighting for and finding legitimatization and independence finally. This is good, and long overdue.
The second is the mass-migration from Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to alt-networks like Rumble and Parler where they can have ‘free speech’, or unfettered, unchecked, unmoderated freeform content mayhem – a conspiracy and a mental asylum for ‘free thinkers’. This is very, very bad and is a direct affront to the well-known journalism adage – “We don’t make the news, we just report it.” It’s flipped…
They make the news, they report it, they accelerate it. They are making their echo chamber the chamber of public discourse
Transcendence? Absolutely, and we’ll see more polarity of opinion in society than ever before fuelled by the networks that we discuss in the first trend area. They are interlinked and oversight will be needed – as will a liberal and moderate government that creates balance.
In 2021 we’ll have to choose our actions and expressions online wisely.
If you’d like to discuss this and other areas of research and concern then reach out to Nikolas to book a call.