Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The second age of discovery

I am currently reading a book about search, something that's so ever present that you never give its impact or meaning any second thought.  Its actually pretty new to our lives even though it doesn't seem like it.  To give it your undivided attention for a decent period of time makes you realise how more profound its role in our lives could be, past our current level dependency.

We have created this brave new digital world that even we do not understand and it is growing by the second.  It is also starting to merge with the physical world we have charted and will start to augment and modify it in ways that we don't yet appreciate.  The key to the navigation of this new world is about the most important single thing there is as far as I can work out.  And despite all this we only really have one universal entry point which is the search engine.  

As I was thinking about this it struck me that we are perhaps entering into a new age of Discovery.  The first age of Discovery was based on lots of men in sailing boats searching and navigating their way through uncharted waters to discover new lands.  Once this task was pretty much completed we turned our attentions to the deep sea and outer-space.  But now I am starting to think that the next age of discovery will play out in the digital world.

Similar to the first discovery age its pioneers are skilled explorers who populate new environments, test new tools and find new applications for the (digital) materials that surround them.  Maybe its a relative or subjective POV but it seems to me like now is particularly relevant, as though new frontiers have only recently opened up.  

This could be the point at which social media and content media merged together.  Before this you are either connecting with other people which is a social function rather than an act of discovery, or you are finding things for your own use which is a discovery but does not establish anything or leave anything behind in its wake.  For example there is no point in discovering America if you can't tell anyone.  

Once these two things are fused together then you have the ability to both find new unexplored territories while at the same time plant your flag in order to usher in immigrant populations from anywhere else on the net.  

A great blog  (which this is not,) is one with a skilled explorer which is less about spouting off opinions (which this one is,) and is more a navigator to the brave new world of the internet.

PS the picture is not a real Time front cover its just me being dramatic.


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