Will Social Networking And Empathy Converge On The Promised Revolution?

In Esteban Kolsky‘s latest 2010 piece on social networking and the convergence of it with Enterprise 2.0, a topic he lists as "one of [his] key topics of 2010," he says, "smart organizations will start their move towards it in 2010. And they will make inroads". He estimates convergence will continue over a three to five year period and cites evidence such as "knowledge management and content management, bricks-and-mortar commerce and eCommerce, and accounting systems and ERP." Esteban is joining other notables this evening here in Mountain View at Convergence of SCRM and Enterprise 2.0.

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Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate: Does the promise of convergence carry with it the Internet Revolution which has been on hold the last ten years?

Convergence is an interesting concept for technologists as it implores those who produce or implement applications and content to consider how those with a different world view feel about their point of view and what might happen should the two be forced to live with one another. As a technology marketer, this conjures up many situations over the last dozen years on why people make marketing decisions and how those decisions are shaped by our ability to consider what buyers want and how they make decisions. In other words, we are often forced to empathize with the audience, the tech buyers, and it is, incredibly, a new idea when it comes to selling expensive technology to the enterprise.

Futurist author Jeremy Rifkin provides a clue to the possibilities: "Communication revolutions not only manage new, more complex energy regimes, but also change human consciousness in the process." In Rifkin’s latest book, "The Empathic Civilization," he takes us through the pathologies that have led us through the good, bad and ugly to a point he feels will provide an opportunity for the peoples of the industrial world to use what some have learned about human nature to make the world not only better, but beyond the notion that "turning points in human consciousness occur when new energy regimes converge with new communications revolutions, creating new economic eras."

Rifkin says, "Each more sophisticated communication revolution brings together more diverse people in increasingly more expansive and varied social networks." He states, "communication revolutions provide an evermore inclusive playing field for empathy to mature and consciousness to expand." We all have heard how the Internet would lead us to the promised land and we’ve seen the word revolution spun the last fifteen years promising that wars would become obsolete and people would begin to focus on love instead of hate.

From Rifkin, "a third industrial revolution–that could extend empathic sensibility to the biosphere itself and all of life on Earth. The distributed Internet revolution is coming together with distributed renewable energies, making possible a sustainable, post-carbon economy that is both globally connected and locally managed." He even goes so far as to make you think he and Esteban are on the same page with, "Whether in fact we will begin to empathize as a species will depend on how we use the new distributed communication medium."

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Epicor Next-Generation Enterprise Applications Virtual Tour
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As we at the NetHawk Interactive camp look around, we can only wonder what it will take to see these brilliant ideas actually have a positive effect on the world and especially on the technology leaders. Yet the jury is still out, and we have not seen any fungible forecast for how these ideas can become the winning memes in a world more motivated by sensationalism on the one hand and Draconian tactics to limit growth for the purpose of control. If social networking is truly able to emerge within the corporate environment and mitigate the global mess that has become far worse than anyone anticipated over the Internet period, we are all over it. However, unless, and until, corporate technology giants are willing to sacrifice short term superficial power for long term global inclusion, we don’t really see much more than lip service.


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