by: Karl Long

One of the things that struck me recently as I was teaching a class in Blogging and Social Media at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University is that whatever technology I was teaching about might not be here next year. I tried to take an approach where I didn’t teach tools so much as tried to demonstrate what creative and amazing things people were doing with the tools. I was trying to teach these guys how to be curious, creative, and to think critically. When I saw this video today it just slammed that fact home.

Things are changing at such a rapid pace, and it’s not just technology. Technology and specifically the web has become a ‘culture accelerator’ or a ‘culture globalizer’. Just as Television accelerated change in culture across America, the internet is accelerating change in culture around the world. The developing countries are in many ways like America was in the 50’s. Lots of new technology, new concepts of free time, and disposable income.

I’ve heard people describe developed nations moving to a Post Consumerism society, and I think the hybrid economies talked about by Lawrence Lessig and the cogitative surplus described Clay Shirky are examples of a Post-Consumer thinking (I’ve written further about those concepts here). Now, it is unrealistic to imagine that developed nations have fully become post-consumerist society but it is happening. But my question is, how quickly will the developing nations move beyond the new consumer culture that is being foisted upon them and adopt a more meaningful model of creativity and consumption? I hope the culture accelerator does that otherwise our planet is in even more trouble than it already is.

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