Membrane between real and virtual is thinning

This is from a publication by one of my favorite bloggers, George Siemens.

Change is shaping a new reality under the fabric of our daily lives.
Seven broad societal trends are changing the environment in which
knowledge exists:

1. The rise of the individual: Individuals have more control, more capacity to create and to connect than in any era in history.
Relationships are defined by convenience and interest not geography. We
can work wherever and whenever. Time and space no longer limit global
conversations.
People are able to connect, share, and create. We are co-creators, not
knowledge consumers. Content generation is in the hands of the many.
Co-creation is an expression of self…a sense of identity…ownership. We
own who we are by the contributions we make.
2. Increased connectedness: Connections raise the
potential for adaptation. The power of the human brain is derived from
the capacity of each neuron to form many connections. Entities capable
of connection forming are capable of adapting. The greater the number
of connections possible, the more adaptive the organization.
We are being remade by our connectivity. As everything becomes
connected, everything becomes transparent. Technology illuminates what
was not discernable to the human eye.
3. Immediacy and now: Everything is now. Knowledge
flows in real time. Global conversations are no longer restricted by
physical space. The world has become immediate. New information changes
markets in minutes. New programs are written in hours, building on the
openness and work of others. Leaders must know what happened five
minutes ago, not only what happened yesterday. Our filters of
information and knowledge assume delays and stopping points, so we can
assess implications.
4. Breakdown and repackaging: It is all in pieces.
Knowledge is unmoored. The selection, flow, and discussion of knowledge
have all moved from controlled spaces (at the point of creation or
filtering) to the domain of the consumer. We take small pieces. We mix
them. We create personal understandings.
Shared understandings happen only when we absorb similar patterns as
others…or when we create shared patterns. Today, we receive our news,
our entertainment, our learning, from distributed means. Two people in
the same household stitch together different understandings based on
the pieces each used.
5. Prominence of the conduit: Connection-forming tools
will always create content, but their value lies in our ability to
reflect on, dialogue about, and internalize content in order to learn.
Content is knowledge frozen at a certain time (a magazine article),
whereas a connection is a pipeline to continue to flow new knowledge.
6. Global socialization: We are now able to socialize
our activities to an unprecedented level. Technology is opening doors
to conversation. Every nuance, every characteristic, can be dissected
and represented in multiple ways and perspectives. The notion of what
is known is confused with limitless viewpoints. Certainty is clouded by
multiplicity.
7. Blurring worlds of physical and virtual: We blend
our virtual interactions with face-to-face. Our water cooler
conversations driven by last night’s newscast, the comic strip in the
morning paper, are replaced with discussions of video logs, or content
presented online (personalizing the internet with our views). The
creator, the consumer have become one.
The membrane between real and virtual is thinning.
We are starting to exist simultaneously in each.

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Jeff Vankooten is a speaker and author focusing on the power of resilience to effectively engage the challenges of change. He helps leaders, businesses, and organizations develop the skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable business environment.
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