For some time I’ve been trying to pin down exactly what is happening as we each spend more and more time online.
In the past I’ve compared the Internet to a big library. I’ve also had a sneaky suspicion that it’s going to help us unify and adjust as we deal with the effects of climate change.
However, I’m going to add one new idea to the mix – we are creating a global brain.
I’m sure other people have thought along similar lines but I’m going to try and back it up with some of my own experience of how quickly ideas are spreading and why it’s really difficult to keep a good idea down.
Before I lead into this I must credit Sarah Susanka for triggering these thoughts. In an upcoming interview (due out on 14th August) for the House Planning Help Podcast, she said: “We are able to connect our thoughts around the world. I often call this our infant global brain.”
I particularly like this description because it reminds me how little time the Internet has been around and suggests that it is likely to mature in the future.
Sharing Ideas Has Gradually Become Easier
There is nothing new about sharing. Good advice has always been passed from one person to another but its range was not that great and it took time to cover distance.
The advent of the printing press was a landmark. Finally there was a way to take written text to a larger audience. Of course, people had to learn the convention of reading (the skills).
Various technologies have made the flow of information rapid – radio, cinema, television – but it was always one way traffic.
Interactivity is a Formidable Force
The dust is still settling on this new era. Although we all partake in it to some degree or other, do we each realise the influence of our contributions? It will vary. Sometimes they will be lost in cyberspace but if we touch on something valuable it will be shared and reach others.
Sharing is Intrinsic to the Internet
Content marketing has taught me that what gets consumed online is what people want to know. It’s the good stuff! In the past perhaps we’ve always kept our best secrets to ourselves for our benefit. Now if we want to be prolific online, we must share them with others. In many ways this is a leap of faith.
A few things happen to these thoughts. First of all they leave a trail. In the same way that Facebook has a timeline, our thoughts will now sit on that timeline and identify us as the originator. That is unless someone has been there before! It’s library syndrome all over again. Yet, the big difference is this global access.
If our thoughts amount to anything they will either be disseminated or commented upon, perhaps even built into something greater.
Communities Cannot Really Exist Without Influencers
Building up an online community is about finding common ground or a niche interest. As those people start to spend time together – regardless of where they are in the world – the ideas flow backwards and forwards. With all these minds (materialising digitally in videos, podcasts, blogs, etc.) and opinions certain ideas rise to the top. They are the good ideas that nobody can shoot down. Let’s say, for example, that someone in the community vehemently disagreed over an idea. It would be very difficult to resist the influence of the best ideas over time. The person would either need to become an influencer with their own community, explain why the idea was rubbish or accept it.
Good Ideas in Construction Come From Germany and Denmark, etc.
Running the House Planning Help website has allowed me to watch the flow of ideas in the construction industry. Whether we choose to ignore it or not, the best ideas lead back to countries such as Germany and Denmark. Matthew Cutler-Welsh is based in New Zealand and he runs Home Style Green. I am able to be part of his community and understand some of the housing issues on the opposite side of the world. Again, the trail always seems to lead back to the same place, even if initially being pointed to the US or the UK or wherever. This is because they have the best ideas! There is nothing to say that this trend will continue but improving things and quietly taking action, the message is getting to the other side of the planet.
An Adult Global Brain Will Have More Established Communities
I do get frustrated sometimes that the links aren’t there yet. Our adult global brain will be much more balanced across all countries and all walks of life. It will take time to form. Part of me wants to find the catalyst that makes this all happen sooner. I really feel energy efficient homes is an important niche and the sooner countries around the world plug in the better!
Can you feel a global brain awakening? How have you plugged in?!