This column appeared first on Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers
You don’t know you’re part of a revolution unless it’s over
I was born in West-Germany. The Wall was around since I was born. It was a fact just like air, taxes and great German soccer. Nothing would ever change that fact. Throughout 1988 and 1989, it became apparent to some that the era of Cold War Communism was approaching the end. The majority of people, pundits, experts and politicians still believed the Wall would stand for another 1,000 years. A few days later, people were dancing on the Wall.
Human beings are incremental creatures. We don’t recognize revolutions, even if we’re part of it. We just recognize them when they’re over. We didn’t see the demise of newspapers coming. We didn’t see the amazing advent of Facebook and Twitter coming. We had no clue about the iPhone, iPad, mobile evolution, the emergence of blogs as a supplement/replacement of mass media news sources. Most importantly, we had no idea how these new tools, toys and platforms would affect our daily behavior. It happened incrementally.
Incremental doesn’t mean it’s not a revolution.
We’re definitely in a Gutenberg moment: I can publish my opinion through all these new, shiny tools in seconds. I can comment on opinions of other in seconds. All of us have become producers: pictures, words, videos. Too many in the advertising world continue trying to grab on to the old world, trying to bury their head in the sand while the world continues to change. Dramatically. Each and every day. These dramatic changes don’t just affect Marketing and Advertising. It’s a business revolution, an entertainment revolution, an education revolution, a behavioral revolution – it encompasses everything we do.
The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing. – Douglas Engelbart
We don’t know what the future will bring. Mass Media will be around for a while, while Social Media is developing. We don’t know yet how we will work and live when all of us have close friends that we’ve never met, apply for jobs that don’t exist yet, how new forms of expressions will transform our way to communicate. Our physical bodies might be equal with our networked brains, we might not distinguish between the “real” and a “virtual” world. Human Beings have been around for hundreds of thousand years, but the changes we’ll experience in the next 10 years will be more dramatic than the transformation from Neanderthaler to U.S. suburbanite in 2010.
All of us are responsible for the future.
Each one working in the advertising and marketing is responsible not to waste this opportunity. We are too transfixed on get-rich-quick stories, talk too much about little features a platform adds every other month, and we’re too busy proclaiming the death of (TV, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines, Web, Social Media – you name it).
We’re just at the beginning. This new world is changing fast and our mind has problems understanding the dimension of this transformation. This is our opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t miss out on it. Or worse, don’t screw it up because all of us determine the outcome of this revolution.