The Third Wave, Social Media and Our Life and Work

A colleague reports a conversation where one person said, “If I need social media, tell me why!”

One answer is that social media is the tip of an ice berg headed for the shores of our lives. The ice berg is the cumulative power of the digital tools that keep disrupting our lives in cascading waves.

Human beings are tool makers. Our tools change the way we live and work. Our lives are changing because we can share words, and images digitally.

Many of us read Alvin Toffler’s book, THE THIRD WAVE. He claimed that we were living at the beginning of the information age that would turn the world into a global village. In this village people would participate in an interactive world accessing an endless array of services and information while building communities not based on geography but on common interests.

 One of the readers of that book was Steve Case. He wanted to play a part in creating the global village. He became the founder of AOL, a portal that gave people access to the internet. Case has written a new book also called the The Third Wave in which he details how the internet is hitting the shores of our lives in successive waves.
  •  First Wave      (1985-1999)      BUILDING THE INTERNET
  • Second Wave  (2000-2050)     APP ECONOMY AND MOBILE REVOLUTION
  • Third Wave     (2016-        )      INTERNET OF EVERYTHING
 We are now entering the Third Wave where it will be assumed that the things we make will be connected to the internet just like most of our things are connected to electricity. In the third wave, entrepreneurs will challenge the industries that most affect our daily live. For example:
  • Health Care will be reimagined
  • Education will be retooled
  • Food will be safer
  • Our commute to work will be easier.

Unbelieveable change lies ahead. The table conversation at our house with our children and grandchildren is often about vocation choices.

Their great grandfather’s first job was driving a horse driven school bus. Just as my father would not have wanted to be the last maker of buggy whips after Mr. Ford started producing the Model A, our children should probably choose a profession other than taxi or truck driver.  Driverless taxis and trucks are just around the corner because of the internet of things.

 Why do I need the internet? I need it to be reminded that our work and life is being transformed.

We have spent years training people to take responsibility for their own lives. We will not do that well in the future if we do not take social media and digital revolution that is driving it seriously. Here is a list of books that perhaps need to inform our analysis.

  •  Steve Case: The Third Wave
  • Alec Ross, The Industries of the Future
  • Al Gore, The Future
  • Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces that will Shape our Future
  • Thomas L. Friedman, Thank you For Being Late: An optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations
  • Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: how a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
  • Steven Kotler, Peter H. Diamandis, Abundance: The Future is Better than you Think
  • Viktor mayer-Schonberger, Kenneth Cukier, Big Data: A Revolution That will Transform how we live, Work, and Think
  • Paul Scharre, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of Ware.

 We are Just Elders. We remember.We remember the past. We see the Future. People need both for Times Like these!

If we hang on to the old tools and the way of life they engendered, we will destroy our children’s future. They will not enjoy the abundance of the digital revolution.


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    • Rev. Don Burton on August 4, 2018 at 9:29 am

      Thank you. We are looking for Elders who would like to make their voices heard in a critical time in American History. Are you a Just Elder?

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