I hate people who cite economic class as the reason for everything in society. I really do. But there are cases where its appropriate. This quote from Fred Wilson, where he addresses his vision of Social Networking, is one example...
Honestly I am not envisioning anything other than this; every single human being posting their thoughts and experiences in any number of ways to the Internet.
That's it in a nutshell. Many people will say that's a ridiculous notion. That not everyone is an extrovert. That most people don't have anything interesting to say or share. To which I say bullshit. I believe that we are headed to a world which everyone will share their lives with the rest of the world via the Internet. That is social media. It's a huge movement and we are at the start of it.
This is not the first time Mr. Wilson has expressed this idea. Just recently he publicly complained that Google Health did not allow him to make his personal medical records publicly available for anyone to read.
A little "History of Tom" before I go on...
The thing to understand about me is that I grew up poor. Government Housing, Food Stamps, the whole nine yards. But even poor kids have a computer lab and I loved technology so that got me to where I am today.
Well, that and a bunch of lucky breaks which I can't begin to be thankful enough for.
Anyway, one of those lucky breaks (being recruited to a startup my sophomore year of college) combined with some good investments (thank you Bob Brinker) put me in a place where I largely don't have to worry about money. I'm not "Rich" by any means but as people in their 20s go I'm pretty well off.
Back to the Show...
What my history does is to give me a unique view of both extremes of the class system. I've lived in the rich world and I've lived in the poor one. That experience has taught me more lessons than I can count. But one of the big ones is this...
Rich people have no concept of privacy.
It isn't really their fault, they just have no need for it. Privacy is the tool of someone who has to be cautious of the world. The reason people are cautious of the world is because they are afraid their life (as in livelihood not physical life) will be taken away from them and they need to guard against that.
A rich person doesn't need to worry about their life being taken away from them because it's artificially sustained by their existing wealth.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. I started this blog because I wanted to say what I think. But doing that is completely contingent on the fact that I feel I can afford to suffer the consequences of someone not liking what I say. If the CEO of the agency I work for reads this blog and fires me for it I can find another job and live comfortably while I look.
Most people aren't so lucky.
Which brings me to my point. Really understanding the future of Social Networking means understanding the world as a whole and not just the guys you hang around with. The techies and "gadget hound business men" are pretty much saturated at this point. The key to the future is finding a way to bring other people into the mix. If your a person who thinks everyone is going to make everything about themselves public I don't think you stand much chance of pulling that off.