The Internet Evolution Revolution

March 19, 2009

Let’s take a moment to discuss evolution. In a very real sense, the evolution we experience today is entirely different than that which is taught in Biology textbooks. Evolution itself is telescoping. Originally we experienced physical evolution which took effect over huge spans of time. However as humanity has eliminated most physical threats and technology has become preeminent in our lives, the face of human evolution has changed drastically. Our culture is experiencing generational social evolution at an unprecedented rate. This evolution can be tracked along a series of major inventions all the way back to the Industrial Revolution. The cotton gin transformed agriculture. Around 50 years later, mechanization completely redefined industry and production. Another 50-70 years later, the invention of the radio changed the American family dynamic – something which was changed even further by the television in another 20 or 30 years. All these inventions were huge catalysts of social and cultural change, not to mention other equally important inventions, like that of the light bulb, or the motion picture, the telephone, the railroad, the car, or the airplane.

For reference I’ve attached an article from the wall street journal which contains an incredibly information dense graph cataloguing the consumer penetration of technologies since 1920.

If you take a look at the right side of the graph, you’ll see much smaller gaps of time between the inclusions of new technologies into the lives of consumers. This technological inundation is the boon of the “Information Age”, the designation given to the social evolution of the past 30 years. The Information Age was created as a result of, and continues to be defined by the advent of the biggest modern technological catalyst this generation, the personal computer. First we saw the generation who invented the computer, who never quite acclimated to its existence in their everyday lives. Now, the generation which was born with the computer already in place is rising into adulthood. This is the generation that can type with more than its index fingers. As President Obama technologically overhauls the Whitehouse, all with his Blackberry close at hand, we see how this new technology is finally recognized as the major social revolution that it is. The Whitehouse seems to be the final building in America to accept the Internet: ironic that the minds in the United States military were the ones to invent it.

To a new generation, computers and the Internet are like a sixth sense, a way of taking in tremendous amounts of information to be processed later, or not at all. In its original iterations, the Internet was a mode of communication, and soon was seen as the new frontier for business. In a way, the Internet is the ultimate form of transportation. Where the automobile and the steamboat and the airplane globalized the world, bringing people and industries closer together, the internet brings them face to face. It only makes sense that our first inclination was to use this new technology to try to sell to one another. However the user-base and therefore the function of the internet are changing again. The Internet is becoming a social, rather than consumer tool. This began with forums and boards for social discourse and evolved into the social websites we see today, most notably Facebook, and lesser so, Myspace. Sites like Twitter, which are just now gaining the publics interest, are simply new modes of public expression. I recently was in an Apple Store and overheard a conversation between a salesman and a girl looking to buy a laptop. He asked her, “Well, what do you usually use your computer for?” To which she answered, “Facebook” This is pretty representative of a large contingent of Internet users. To them, the Internet is almost entirely a social tool, otherwise useful for occasional surfing, watching a few videos, and maybe buying a thing or two when necessary. This is the “new Internet”.

So the question facing any person running a business is how to take advantage of this “new Internet”. Throughout history, as all new technologies emerge, technologies which become major parts of the social consciousness, those who take advantage of those technologies in the correct way are usually enormously successful. This is mostly because the new technology gives them access to a market to which they and their competitors had never before had access. For the most part, many have missed the very early stages of the Internet. As is inherent with the information age, the plane of the Internet has transformed extremely rapidly, and continues to transform. You may have missed the opportunity to start sites like Google, Amazon, and EBay. But people are still finding new ways to use the Internet, to reach the newest generation. Pathfinder, as an Internet consulting group, essentially seeks ways to allow a company, your company, to reach its audience while keeping pace with the changing face of the Internet. We seek to stay ahead of the curve, discovering new technologies and ideas and employing them in an attempt to keep our clients on the forefront of this social revolution. We help our clients sell to their customers using the multifaceted tools of the Internet. It’s not enough to just have a website anymore. Pathfinder Consulting will help you become a part of the “new Internet”, and by doing so, you’ll have a chance to reach the millions of consumers who live through the Internet. Society, technology, and the world are in a constant state of flux, they are ever-evolving. Pathfinder can be your key to this changing world. Evolve with us.

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