The Fifth Wave: Why social media is here to stay

I believe that we are in the fifth wave of information technology adoption in society and organizations.  The first was centralized mainframe computing, second was departmental mini-computing, the third was individual focused personal computing, the fourth networked based internet computing, and now social computing.  What constitutes a wave?  Every wave moves control farther and father out to the "edge"; it has new applications and new technologies that enables it.  This social media wave fundamentally makes it much easier for people to self organize.  David Reed noted many years ago that self-forming networks comes from fact that the opportunity to self organize creates tremendous option value - for value that we can not possibly pre-specify before allowing folks to self organize. 

James Beniger wrote a brilliant book called The Control Revolution which says that every new technological wave enables new business models, competition, and value creation.  Likewise, the coming of Facebook, MySpace, and the myriad others are birthing entire new ways to find customers, employees, and sharing knowledge - just to mention a few applications.  At the risk of saying the obvious, the revolution is here to stay"¦

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