Michael Jackson, The Matrix and the Future of Information

by Ryon Harms on July 13, 2009

Remember The Matrix? You might recall how people watched events unfold as an endless stream of code running down a computer screen. Reality doesn’t always play out like the movies, but increasingly true life is reflecting that fiction.

Instead of complex code, we’re consuming massive amounts of bite-sized, real time information also known as status updates from services like Twitter, FriendFeed and Facebook. It’s a fundamental shift from using Google to search for information on web pages to searching millions of real-time conversations through what’s known as “the stream.”

Take Michael Jackson’s funeral. The major networks coupled their webcasts with a dynamic stream of relevant status updates from folks within my personal Facebook community. If I wanted to gage the pulse outside my inner circle, I could have tuned in to Twitter where millions of comments streamed in from people around the globe.

It was a fascinating way to not only watch but also experience an event along with the people I know and strangers from the world around me. Individually, those comments may have been totally useless, but as a whole you would have spotted trends that might lead to conclusions about how the world mourned his sudden death.

I use MJ’s memorial as a pop culture example, but at any given moment there are thousands of smart conversations on ideas and events that could redefine the future of your career, business or industry. The trick to tapping that virtually limitless resource is to become adept at manipulating the infinite stream of information and weaving it all together into a professionally useful narrative. Helping you achieve that goal will be an ongoing theme for this blog moving forward.

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