January 24th, 2012
The three forces of the Shift Age are the Flow to Global, the Flow to the Individual and the Accelerated Electronic Connectedness of the planet. There are 7 billion humans alive today and 5.3 billion of them have cell phones. 3 billion people connect to the Internet every day. These are the forces and the numbers that are shaping most of the change and many of the headlines in media today.
The Accelerated Electronic Connectedness of humanity is perhaps the most significant dynamic in the world today. It amplifies the first two flows. It is one of the two reasons that, 4 years ago I forecast that there would be, in 3-5 years, great upheavals in dictatorships and Islamic states ( I didn’t know to call it Arab Spring because I didn’t know it would be in a season). The second common denominator of the Arab Spring is that 45 to 55% of the population of every country is under the age of 25. Combine Millennials and Digital Natives with the ability to connect electronically and you have the commonality of the Arab Spring.
In the Shift Age, there is a new, rapid reality of Memes to Movements. In a recently uploaded video I speak briefly about this. Think about Occupy Wall Street. As I wrote in a recent column, the Occupy movement went from some 75 people demonstrating in a small park in Manhattan to tens of thousands of people demonstrating in hundreds of cities in 80 countries. In one month! That is something that has never happened in human history.
Six months ago, if someone said “Occupy” to you, you would ask for clarification. Today that word has meaning. It has become a meme. “We are the 99%” is now a meme. The power of the Occupy and 99%/1% memes, are so global and so powerful now because they are both memes and movements.
This connectedness is now faster than most 20th century institutions, let allow 18th century institutions such as the United States Congress. The recent SOPA and PIPA controversy happened not just because of the mobilizing power of the Internet, but because connected memes to movements are infinitely faster that the processes of Congress. They are also more powerful than the 20th century institutional distribution system called Hollywood.
Hollywood has a long developed habit of paying politicians (where have you gone Jack Valenti?) to do their bidding. As a futurist I have to say that they are on the wrong side of history. Here is a suggestion to Google, You Tube, Reddit, Tumblr and specifically Rotten Tomatoes, and any other site that carries videos. If Hollywood tries to ham fistedly try to censor the Internet again, what you should all do is take down all the reviews of current movies, all the video trailers of movies about to open from your sites. Hollywood uses the Internet for free to promote their 20th century distribution models. Have the Internet companies ever complained to the studios about all the free and often primary promotional resource they have provided?
So, as I often say, welcome to the Shift Age! Memes become Movements. Six years ago, when I started this blog, I picked the name evolutionshift( my name on Twitter- please follow) as I see a coming evolutionary shift in consciousness ahead. Memes to Movements is one of the first significant synaptic steps in that direction.