I didn't spend much time in J-school (journalism) before I transferred to B-school (business), but I recall that it is not proper to return from a hiatus in writing without explaining why you have been away for so long.
My favorite example of this journalistic etiquette was columnist Phil Luciano of the Peoria (Illinois) Journal-Star, whose editors had to write a disclaimer over his byline following some legal proceedings. This allowed him to speak freely about an incident where he allegedly “had some words” with a member of the public at a local bar after the reader decided to offer Phil some in-person criticism of his work.
I hadn't even met the man, but the disclaimer above his byline immediately made Phil a "guy I had to follow." Maybe I wouldn't even like him in person, but you have to respect a journalist who takes strong positions in his columns and is willing to stand up for what he believes in.
So it was my task to follow up on Part Four of my "Selling Technology Investments to the 'C' Suite" with some real world examples of investing in Wireless WAN technology providing an ROI to companies. But I got terribly sidetracked for many reasons. One thing I specifically recall during this sidetracked period is that a good friend mentioned the documentary "Transcendent Man" (2009), featuring inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. It led to one of those "aha" moments just like I had when I wrote my first post for Sprint, "I'm Done With Web 2.0!"
I had always been a naysayer when it came to cybernetic organisms (half human and half machines). It seemed absurd to me that mankind would remove half their brain to install a microprocessor in its stead. But after watching "Transcendent Man," I now believe that in 50 years we will all be cyborgs (please keep reading – I do have a rational explanation for this statement!). The difference is that we won't have microprocessors implanted in our brain, but the information that our brains will process will be entirely filtered, transformed, and processed through a complex social algorithm in the cloud.
As I explained in Why Social Media Matters to Everyone in Business, "if you are an advertiser and you want to reach me, you'd better be advertising on LinkedIn, Facebook, Hulu, or Pandora. Otherwise, you'll never reach me." Now that I have started using NetFlix online (to watch Transcendent Man by the way) I am even more amazed at algorithmic filtering of information. The "grid" of yesterday's TV listings seems absurd by comparison. A half-century from now, no one will be able to "delete" all the spam they get in their "inbox," because it won't be spam; it will be information about what your second cousin ate for breakfast and what sales one of your favorite local restaurants has running this weekend. The spam of tomorrow will not be from strangers in a foreign land, but from people and places that you know and adore.
That is why social filtering algorithms will be a sine qua non of the future. It will be a brave new world and either you move someplace very remote or you give in to the social trend and let everyone know what your mother's maiden name is. There will be little middle ground. You will have no choice but to give up a little privacy in a Web 2.0 future. That will bring with it both great triumphs and great failures for technology. It will happen with or without you, so your only question as an enterprise and as an individual is whether you will be on board.
And rest assured Part Five will be coming soon.