Sociology of Google, Facebook and Twitter’s success – and what’s next

molehills by h3_six via FlickrOur utilities have changed beyond recognition

In the last five or is it six or seven years, our lives have been transformed.  In a year or two, we might count banking crises and revolutions and seismic activity in the change.  Right now, I am talking about Google, Facebook and Twitter who have crept into contemporary live as assuredly as TV, running water and phones.

The ubiquity of new internet services and their ready availability to everyone – rich or poor, powerful or disposed – gives them the status of institutions. Google is now a verb.  “Google it!” Facebook is a noun.  “I am a bad Facebooker.”  Twitter has its own vocabulary. “RT” = “retweet”.

The very ubiquity of internet services worry us. They seem to have taken over our lives.

The characteristics of new institutions

But of course, they have taken over our lives.  New utilities scare us because they reflect deep changes in society and our status relative to each other.  That is the point.

New institutions have three characteristics.

  • They bring us together in a forum – in a talking shop – on a massive scale.
  • They provide a “complete world” where everyone and every interest is invited.
  • They allow us to take part in history – indeed they allow us to make history.

Are we about to see even more new institutions emerge?

I have a deep sense that we are going to see changes in these central apps – not necessarily in technology but in whom they serve.

If we want to foresee change, indeed if we want the heady experience of being part of history, we have to  look at the world historically and socially with a keen eye.  Who is included in the “complete world” as of today?  And who is on the sidelines waiting to join in?

When we add a wider range of pressing interests to the mix, where will we see new institutions germinating and sprouting because people are looking for a forum where they can connect ever more widely to make history.

It is not the disaffected that matter so much in the emergence of institutions.  It is who wants to connect more widely.  Who wants to connect where they couldn’t connect before?  Who is genuinely interested in listening to other people who aren’t part of their current existence?

Further reading on the birth of institutions

Barbara Czarniawska.  (2009). Emerging Institutions: Pyramids or Anthills.  Organization Studies 30(4). pp 423-441. (History of the London School of Economics) [Download the full paper following link highlighted in yellow in the middle column]

Spread your know-how with (un)classes

(un)classes is a brilliant idea and they deserve to take off.  But they are not going to take off in London unless we all the founders a nudge.  A bit collective nudge!

Would you email them asking them to stop allocating London, England, to Guildford, Surrey!  I’ve explained to them that this won’t do, but I think they need to know that a  lot of us “over here” would use their service if they fixed the glitch.

What is an (un)class?

An (un)class is like an (un)conference. It is an informally organized class organized in a big city by whoever would like to teach a class!

The software allows students to arrange classes too, and ask for a teacher.

There is no obligation to pay, but students can voluteer to pay and teachers can ask to be paid.  Students could also tip the teacher!  That is all left to the teacher and the students to work out among themselves.

Put your bio up

I’ve put mine up and I am waiting for them to fix the glitch!  Please email them for me  .  .  .

My Bio on Unclasses August 2009
My Bio on Unclasses August 2009

Light at the end of the tunnel!

Forget the recession for a moment

and look at this up-and-coming recruitment specialist in our midst! Funny, stylish, and on the nail.  If this is what Gen Y will be bringing our industry, we are in good hands!

HOW NOT TO WRITE A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT LETTER – DESPITE MY TEMPTATION!

Dear Client,

I’ve written to you today to talk to you about recruitment and I have chosen a letter in which to do this. I have opted for this pre-dated method of communication for a few reasons.

1) All of the carrier pigeons were out.

2) I can’t talk to your secretary anymore. Shy of knowing her bra size and favourite day of the week, I’ve come to know more about her than my own mother and whilst I enjoy hearing the words ‘If you’d like to send me an email, I’ll ensure your details are passed on to the right person who will be in contact soon’ more times than Michael Jackson say’s ‘chimone’, I feel my relationship with her is becoming one of those relationships that cause people to bungee-jump – minus cord. I know she’s lovely but her telephone sign off can only be heard by near-by dolphins and my ear-drums can’t take it anymore.

. . . for more, I’ll pass you over to Ian’s blog, Branded Jeanes.

Ian is a specialist recruiter in new media – the read-write web and everything that entails: SOE, coding, community management, etc.