Moore’s Magic Bus
Last week Facebook passed Google as the web’s top destination (chart at bottom). Comparing Google and Facebook is like comparing apples to oranges. Yes both apples and oranges are fruits and they taste good, but apples and oranges are distinctly different things. Instead of thinking about Google and Facebook as THINGS this post is about an experiment. What if we think of Google and Facebook as TIME. I’ve argued once Gordon Moore created his famous law noting how computational power would square even as costs dramatically fell every few years Google (or something) was inevitable.
Google is and always has been a must. Once content stretches toward infinity some Dewey Decimal system had to be invented to assign priority or MORE = we drown. If Google wasn’t invented then someone would invent something to organize the content explosion Moore’s law promised. Arguing if Google is the best or worst is moot. Google simply is.
Perhaps Facebook was inevitable too?
Daniel Pink, one of my favorite authors, proposes an interesting idea in his book A Whole New Mind: Moving From The Information Age To The Conceptual Age. Pink suggests that we’ve exhausted the road left brain engineering was driving. The next age is a conceptual age, a creative right brain age. It is not that engineering doesn’t matter, but that engineering is exhausted and incapable of creating the kinds of connections and experience we seek.
We seek connection, meaning and value.
We know time is our most valuable nonrenewable treasure. We want to understand. We chase big questions. Think of a rubber band extended to its breaking point. We’ve snapped back home and want to know WHY something should be done. Just yesterday understanding HOW to play the game was enough. We were children with our first bicycles. We did wheelies and called our parents to watch.
We attached playing cards to spokes and, in our minds, we rode powerful hogs with full leathers and sunglasses. We were dangerous ten and twelve year old children at a time when anything was possible. We built fortes of cardboard and climbed trees because we could. Our joy was communal, competitive and complete.
For a little bit there we Internet marketers got lost.
We became more intent on creating ladders than climbing trees. The more complicated the ladder instructions became the more obsessed and competitive we got. We would make the best ladder never mind the climbing. We were determined and solipsistic. We thought only of ladders and not the trees they were meant to climb. We were so invested in ladder production we stopped climbing trees.We dreamed of ladders and compared notes on construction. We attended conferences to learn how to create the most ornate ladder. We lost our sense of play.
Trees Not Ladders Are Magical
Then one day even the chief ladder maker realized the most important idea – we create ladders to climb trees. We climb trees because we can and because we are different for having climbed them. The magic is not in the tools. Magic exists within each and every one of us. A giant snapped his fingers and the percussion woke up millions. At first many ladder builders refused to believe. Some ladder builders were so vested and understood the old game so well they couldn’t accept what was so clear – we were asking the wrong questions in the wrong ways.
We should have known.
Any game that is both means and end is hollow. This game, the game of search engine optimization (SEO), became a tautology something whose manufactured truth reinforced itself over and over and in a million ways. If a game is complex enough and self reinforcing enough we will play it forever and for no reason other than because we can. Then the giant who organized the game realized his huge and spreading error. The giant too forgot. He forgot talking to yourself about yourself is no conversation at all.
If life seems less sure now then you are getting it.
Life always becomes less sure. We march toward entropy and entropy is our friend. Not that entropy and the great unknown isn’t scary and foreboding, but scary and foreboding is a challenge and less known or knowable. This new book careens from pillar to post. We hang on with fingernails and sweat. This is how life should be and we know it. Life should be a magical mystery tour always and for everyone. If life is an interpreted art understood only by some elite priesthood we can’t actualize, we can’t find or know our human potential.
Last week Facebook passed Google as the largest web destination signaling the truth of Pink’s 2005 prediction and snapping the giant’s fingers loudly one more time. One train’s journey is complete and we’ve taken seats on the Merry Prankster’s bus with its single destination proudly proclaimed on its brow, “FURTHER”.
Link to the Facebook vs. Google infographic
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