Leading Tech, Culture, and Social Trends

copyright 2011 doug d cain.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. " Walt Disney

End of Social Media: So Next Killer App?

Charlie Rose had Zuckerberg on the other night, see charlierose.com. It was a predictable display of spin ("we're really concerned about privacy") and disguised hubris ("...just hang out with my girlfriend and play with the dog..."). He thinks he is king of the world and since the world is agush about social media who can blame him.

However as my grandfather said: "At the end of your life you're lucky if you have 5 friends." This is the eternal truth about friends: most drop away over your lifetime, along with your social network. Ultimately this devalues social media content for you. That's why the current middle-aged generation and older just aren't that enthused about social media: their friends' circle is smaller, they are pickier about their social network, and they don't think their friends are always the best source of content. Path.com is trying to foster narrower social networks following a lifepath collection of one's own media. Is this anything more than a scrapbook in the end? This seems just another social media derivative and not a greater social enhancement.

So the Next Killer App? Social collaboration. Work and play are already merging in tech company culture, and online work collaboration tools are already appearing as social applications. See cozi.com: it's enterprise planning repackaged as family event organizing. The power of such tools will blossom as brain pickers and creativity boosters, as now spied in curation sites like pearltrees.com and ideabook sites polyvore.com. Of course social media sites will co-opt these tools but it will change their nature. Social content will become more about idea generation and less about chatter, more signal and less noise. Oldsters will then stay linked in for those important signals still meaningful at the end of their lives.

Globalization = Cultural Mashup = Micro-multinational

Most of the discussion about globalization has focused on business and only a little about culture, largely on the negative effects from the loss of indigenous language, crafts, etc. The huge story that's concurrent with globalization is about outside culture taken in by the locals and remade to fit hometown tastes. Mashup! It's everywhere, in music, dance, media, and even democracy, creating fresh, rich reconfigurations of content. I particularly like the rock and roll sounds woven into Balinese gamelan music by Berkeley's Gamelan Sekar Jaya (www.gsj.org). Smokin hot.

Also James Brown's song Make It Funky redone as samba by Funk n Lata. Better than the original?

Also cooking in this mashup are new small business formations aross the globe: micro-multinationals. These are beyond import/export and are really knowlege/cultural exchanges, particularly around artisan type enterprises that create niche products and services using talent in multiple countries. I worked on one with a partner in Beijing. These will definitely be a force shaping capitalism's future.


Doug Cain has enjoyed a long career in culture, design, and technology where he has won awards in multiple disciplines. He also works on public utility issues at the Advisory Council of the San Francisco Public Utilites Commission, is a part-time lecturer at San Francisco State University, and guest speaker for many business and academic groups. He is CEO of strategy-design consultants CDG. Their website is cdg-on.com