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November 28, 2008

The world is splintering into many little pieces

As readers of this blog will know I live out in the middle of nowhere right now. And I travel extensively. When the US election was on I was nowhere near a TV so I watched it on Twitter .

It was a perspective changing experience. (I tend to be open to those I have noticed)

The tweets were on a live feed and they were spinning through at an incredible pace. I think it was probably the biggest discussion that has ever been held by so many people simultaneously. Ever.

It made my hairs stand on end and really made me realize that we are in the middle of a communications transformation and none of us really understand the full impact of it.

Right now the Mumbai terrorist attacks have captured the worlds attention. But they hit Twitter first. Like Flickr  during the London metro terrorist attacks, people found a way to get the word out.

To the point that there was even an official request to stop twittering on the ground details.

Now I use a program called monitter  which allows me to watch a number of feeds live. Some of it is idle chatter, some of it is interesting and tells me things that the news isn't able to, and some of these tweets are inspiring and brilliant.

Things are dramatically different today. Communication is instant. I stopped reading magazines and newspapers because they weren't instant enough. Now there are even more instant forms of news and information.

This means a lot, most of which I haven't worked out yet, but some of them are:

There is no longer any way at all ever to hide, obfuscate, or try to block information about any publicly important event. That's all over. As it happens it hits the airwaves. As it happens people are spilling the beans. False statements, lies and misrepresentations are now all there for everyone to see.

People are becoming connected at a huge rate of knots. Faster than I had ever thought possible. I started using Twitter about a month ago. I have almost 800 followers today.

Some of these people are truly fascinating. it has helped me to form a community around the writing of my book, given me some incredible food for thought, and even inspired me to action on more than one occasion.

By far the best thing I have done for my own personal development in the past year. Easily...

But most of these tweets aren't to one person, they are to many people.

Information is at live minus a couple of minutes now. Everything of dramatic importance hits Twitter within seconds of happening. And then the blogosphere shortly after.

We still look to mainstream news providers to provide us with the aggregation of the facts, but more and more we are choosing to trust people not associated with institutional news outlets. .

Communications seems to be shifting from one-to-one to a one-to-many model.

Repeatedly we see one person  connecting with many people through inspiring innovation , quirky ideas , and purely inspiring concepts .

Blogs, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn news items, Facebook status updates... the list goes on. More and more we are joining groups of people who are listening to one person talk about one idea, or one concept or theme.

And more and more these groups are getting smaller, not bigger. We are becoming more fractured as we all look for people who think like we do, and for groups who share our small and very niche interests.

Your challenge is to work out how you are going to speak to many, and to get them to speak to many more. How can you start a brush fire that will burn across the internet?

Something people will be inspired to Re-tweet, or to forward to their friends in an email? Don't be boring, don't waste too much time on the story about your cat and the fur ball. Be fascinating, be extra-ordinary.

Marketing is so much easier when you can get others to do it for you. And as communications continues to splinter your ability to rapidly reach many people who are all connected by mutual interests is multiplying, not getting harder.