The Golden Age of Social Media Networks
We are entering a golden age of social media networks enabled by Web 2.0.
In thinking extensively about it, I have come up with a paradigm to describe our current place in history: the Third Dimension of Connectivity.
Explaining the Three Dimensions
The first dimension is personal. The second dimension is public. The internet extends the second dimension by putting the public persona online, and the social media networks of Web 2.0 mark the third dimension.
I also posit that the fourth dimension will be a combined public/private domain in which users create identities for interaction in an artificial world. (This sounds more confusing then it is, keep reading.)
Allow me to explain.
The First Dimension: Personal
The first dimension is that of home. It is our personal, private lives, symbolized by what goes on “behind closed doors.” Think: family, friends, relationships, religion, gender, sexuality. This is where our personal identity is created.
The Second Dimension: Professional
The second dimension is that of profession. It is what we do in public, symbolized by the marketplace. Think: school, job, race, ethnicity, and everything we do outside the home that adds to our public persona. This is the image that we portray to the outside world.
Extending the Second Dimension: The Internet
Then there were two and a half dimensions: personal, public, and web.
The internet in its foundational stages became an extension of the second dimension. People and businesses in the know came to use webpages to establish themselves in the public eye. Homepages became a second office, another way of promoting a brand.
The internet made it possible for us to take our public identity and put it online to connect with a far greater network of people than had ever before been possible.
The Third Dimension: Social Media Networks Enabled by Web 2.0
The third dimension is Web 2.0. Its greatest achievement has been putting your home online, adding the potential of having a unified web identity with the personal and professional combined.
Social media networks create personal relationships among people, transforming the “closed doors” of your personal space and your “market” identity through online networks. The result is something completely new.
What Is To Come?
If the internet put our public lives online and Web 2.0 puts our private lives online, then what is left?
My answer: whole new identities associated with the creator, but whose characteristics the creator can pick and choose as the final arbiter of what image goes into the newly combined public/private domain.
In real life, like it or not, we judge and are judged on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, along with a host of other traits. It affects all aspects of our daily interactions.
I believe that the fourth dimension will take this idea to a higher level where an entire new identity is created in an artificial world. (Think Second Life.)
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