Over 100 years ago, one of the most significant societal, economic and culture changes forever changed life around us. It created industry, populated urban areas, created the employee, introduced the theory of selling your time for monetary value and for better or worst, it, the Industrial Revolution, manifested and proliferated a ‘Me’ Economy. And until recently, that has remained relatively the same.
Over the past decade, a drastic shift has been occurring. Whether you dub it the Digital, Internet or most recently Social Media Revolution, this significant force is moving us into a completely new direction. One that moves us towards a group mentality. It gathers the crowd. It “benefits” us if we all choose to be a part of it. It creates a system of trade-offs that not only causes you to sell your time for some sort of value but one that asks you to sell your personal behaviour, privacy and information as well. This is the ‘We’ Economy.
The very foundations of Facebook, GroupOn, Twitter, Klout, LinkedIn, YouTube and everything that is social involves one, and the most important and underlying aspect, which is that we all choose to participate. This also extends into the current world of apps, smart phones and tablets. The reality is that it doesn’t take too much for us to participate. Who doesn’t want to see and follow their friends? Want a deal? Have a professional profile? Want to watch videos of all makes and kinds? Leverage their social activity of bragging rights, recognition or some sort of perk? Have a cool mobile product and useful apps? The We Economy needs us all to participate. And we are, willingly, participating.
Our participation validates this new business model and it validates the ideas behind it. It’s business and it’s personal. Your personal self is of significant value of which becomes quite lucrative and valuable when you and I and millions of others decide to opt-in. We are the fuel and sole purpose that moves a new world that is stepped in service. A service that is engulfed at satisfies our needs of self-gratification. Right now, we’re all consumed by this. And naturally so. From the effects of cool, new and exciting to peer and group mentalities, it’s in our human nature to pursue these endeavours. Regardless of them being deemed good or bad.
But if everything is based on business and selling a product or service, how true can our experiences really be? As Sam Fiorella points out in his blog post, I’m Taking Back My Influence; Opting Out of Klout, building your perceived online influence is ultimately a business venture based on tracking your social media information. It requires that we participate for both the sake of validity, it’s existence and business. Further, Google’s introduction of their new social network Google+ is suppose to have a direct correlation to your Google+ and search results. Not to mention it’s frequent algorithm changes, most recently, for “fresher” results. And then there is Apple’s Siri, who will ultimately change and decide things for us. Flipping many aspects like online search on it’s head.
The current mentality and one that propagates the We Economy is that we either choose to be a part of it or lose out. It is shaped by the information we provide and not the information that it is unaware of. It produces statistics, data, behaviours and algorithms that are suppose to be deemed real, relevant and accurate. It is one that unknowingly shapes us more than we know or acknowledge. It tells us and forces us to believe what we see is what we want. We do not care about or acknowledge the unknown. So we become biased to everything we see online, in our profiles, in searches, in conversations, et cetera. All encompassed by ‘we’.
To say this is good or bad will be truly unknown. Where one would argue that by participating in this social world we are entering an age of many issues that will inherently effect us, such as our misconception of free social media and apps (free = exposure to advertisements + our willingness to be monitored, participating and providing information). However, another would argue that based on everything we provide it will eventually lead to optimal experiences, and services, and products we truly want. And ones we didn’t know we wanted, yet.
Our human nature and intuition has become very much a participatory one, and the further intervention of business into our daily lives has created a series of circumstances that is both unfounded and unprecedented. Like anything else, the good comes with the bad and the opinions follow it. Though, what we know for certain is this, we are amidst a new-era in human history. A new way of behaving, living and thinking. One that is full of mobile devices, social networks, online activities and our ongoing participation by all of us in it. This is the We Economy.
Photo source: razorray15