New trends …

17 February 2008
New trends …

If there is something our modern times do not lack it is studies of all kinds … In the late 1990s John Naisbitt published his book Megatrends 2000, an international best-seller, where the author forecast the information society and the global economy — quite controversial ideas in those days. Naisbitt wrote that networks would replace hierarchies as the prime model for getting things done inside and outside corporations.

Yesterdays thoughts, today’s reality … Who has not received e-mails from friends suggesting that they join all kinds of social and professional networks — Linkedin, Facebook, Small World, MySpace, etc.

Today, these are viewed as important communication tools, and have become so popular that many of the candidates for president of the United States have rolled out profile pages on these networks in an attempt to connect with voters who spend time on-line. Even employers go there to check out employees and potential candidates. Two out of three jobs are not even advertised; the candidates are approached directly or obtain the jobs through networks!

The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckenberg, said recently in an interview with the Financial Times: "Communication is really inefficient. If we can improve that just a little bit for a lot of people, that’s a massively important thing for the economy and the world." Today Facebook has more than 50 million users, three years after it started on the Harvard Campus!

One could assume that this is only the beginning of this new communication area … However, the questions are numerous? Will we spend the rest of our lives just sitting in front of our computers? What about the old, friendly human communication and interaction? Will this only be reserved for those who still remember a life without computers? What about those suffering from the Digital Divide?

In France, for the newly established Attali Commission, they included a psychiatrist whose task is to reflect on — ways of re-establishing "old ways of communications" and reinforcing the local society and traditional family values. According to him, research has shown that traditional communication and a strong local community tend to reduce violence among young people. He also denounces the trend whereby young people become too "risk averse" and only think about their own comfort, instead of taking such risks as creating a businesses, going abroad or doing something different. If we don’t take any risks, society as such will stagnate and becoming passive.

Philip Adams said some time ago: "It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever." So perhaps Nehru was right when he said: "The policy of being too cautious is the greatest risk of all." On these notes we wish you all a wonderful day.