Once we were tribes. Whether we were a township in Dorset or a village in Africa. We were tribes and life was hard yet uncomplicated, there was less confusion, less noise. Skills passed down generation through generation. Life was simple and choice limited.
With the birth of the Digital Revolution and the Internet, the natural barriers were broken down and all of a sudden our world grew smaller yet more immense at the same time. While we were privileged with the ability to communicate vastly with our global peers, it diluted our tribal culture and in a sense made our world a more isolated place than ever.
Man however, is a great problem solver and although the online culture has existed without the boundaries that our tribal nature longs for, Social Media is evolving in a way that allows digital man to reclaim his tribal heritage. Communities are rebuilding at the speed of thought, in a way that is different to anything we have ever experienced before.
Those of us who have become part of this collective consciousness, seek solace among our enlightened peers who can see the truth as we see it. The more we use Social Media and understand its benefits, the more of an advocate we become -evangelical, fanatical even – like perhaps many of you reading this post.
But where does this passion come from? Erik Qualman Author of Socialnomics (Social Media Revolution) explains it like this:
“As human beings, we have the dichotomous psychological need to be our own individual, yet we also want to feel like we belong to, and are accepted by, a much larger social set”. I believe the fascination runs deeper than the need for validation and connection and stems from a primeval survival instinct. The need to rebuild the tribes that were broken down when the internet opened the floodgates of the Information Era.
In his book ‘Tribes’, permission marketing guru Seth Godin defines a Tribe as ‘a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea that inspires their passion.’
His philosophy is that humans need ‘to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people’. With the emergence of the Social Media phenomenon, we are at the forefront of a cultural revolution.
Just like the discovery that the world is round, the non-believers are unaware of the paradigm shift taking place or are afraid of the new concepts so prefer to cling to the notion that they will fall off the edge if they travel too far.
And just like the companies who once claimed that they didn’t need a website because ‘their customers have been finding them without one for the last 20 years’, they will get onboard now or get on board later. Or perhaps they will become extinct like all other species that either refused to change or were unable to evolve with the cultural landscape.