Many of the technology projects submitted for our crowd-sourced book of innovation stories, Innovative American Mind, are Internet platforms that offer creative new ways of connecting people to each other, to things they are interested in doing, or to things they want to buy or sell; not surprising. What many of these platforms share in common is their inherent “aliveness,” i.e., their initial spark of life is given to them voluntarily by a user, they tend to be self-correcting by their user public, they are self-perpetuating as long as users get what they want, and they require minimal moderation and management.
A good example is Showhaus, (http://showha.us) a startup that went live this August in Baltimore. This platform offers a platform for self-listing community independent music shows weekly, and is described as “a cross betweeen Wikipedia and Craig’s List specifically designed for local concerts.”
This example made me think of “food” as a metaphor for all the things we need and want. Shakespeare onced wrote “If music is the food of the soul, play on” an allegory for the continuation of life. This moved me to write this brief meditation on how technology is dramatically changing the way we get what we need and want.
1. Nomads: We roamed to find our food, killed it, cooked it & ate it.
2. Agrarians: We settled and grew our food, cooked it & ate it.
3. Tribes: We formed groups, and traded for food that we cooked & ate.
4. Nations: We formed countries with firms that marketed food we bought, cooked, & ate.
5. Internetions: Now, we form iPlatforms @ Now, choose foods we like, order them, and eat them or return them.
It seems we are becoming a society of social media platforms that are “alive,” interconnecting at will, avatars for our private selves, Internetrons of our extended selves.