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Michael Perman

Gap, Inc - Dean of Mindspark


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What are the most important cultural trends influencing our future behavior

Cultural trends such as sustainability, social networking or value-adjusting impact our behavior and attitudes. If we catch them early we can adjust the messages, offerings and services provided that are useful to society. What are the emerging trends that will lead to sea-changes?


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    Jul 16 2011: Social networking has created an overwhelming sense of disconnection. This seems contrary to general opinion however the shift in understanding of what community is has become a statistical display of followers, likes or other metrics rather than based on a relational commitment to a core group. This distancing of relationships is dangerous as it removes our capacity to connect in real ways with real people. Try having a 30 minute conversation with a teenager and you will see what I mean.
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      Jul 16 2011: I agree with you that there is a disconnect when it comes to Social networking and Humanity as it works now. My brother is a teenager that is on facebook and stuff like that all the time. When I was a kid I had a little black and white TV in my room, not an XBOX 360, laptop with internet, phone, and flatscreen TV in my room like he does. I agree with the disconnect, but that is only because I think that we are going about it all wrong. I do not think that the issue is in what Social Networking and Globalization CAN do for us if used correctly (TED being a great example), I think the issue lies in its present usage, with things like Facebook, Twitter, and those kind of sites that can, and have been hijacked for usage that is ridiculous. The problem lies in things like Crackberrys, and Apps for Iphones like Angry Chicken, and other ridiculous money making, time consuming memes. If it was used correctly, to network hospitals from India to Great Britian so the best care could be provided world wide, than a Social Network would have to be used, and would have a greater sense of connectivity, than disconnect purely due to the fact that it was helping people.
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      Jul 20 2011: without having gone through the psychological "check" of social networkings impact on disconnection, i believe Dan is spot on. There is a TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html where Brene Brown is highlighting (as one aspect of the talk) that connection is everything we long for and we need to survive. When it comes to the why? of the "improper" usage of the social networking I believe it just shows a very common human behaviour that is one underlying source for the "wrong direction" societies (which are big groups/organisations in the end) take since years...people usually go for the "easy cure"...that is alcohol, money, sex, power...you name it...so social networking is "convenient"...you can "believe" to have friends...you can "believe" that people care about you...etc etc....the even bigger emptiness that will result out of this behaviour ist the cost society has to bear...
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        Jul 20 2011: Perhaps social networking is convenient as it can help more people to get closer and more connected also in many positive ways.

        In the digital world, it seems that the principle of true love, true happiness and true friendship still applies and when we miss the mark of these principles, it may not necessarily mean that the means (social networks) is the problem. http://Bit.Ly/KeyPower
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          Jul 20 2011: that might be true, but still people that miss the mark get illusioned by the social networks...etc etc...and ur right social networks are not the problem...
    • Jul 20 2011: Dan
      I agree with the general thought you give. What we need to see is that in a past society where individualism ruled, the social networking phenom is a symptom of something more. Want a real social trend? The realization that everything is finally connected in interlaced webs, everything. Once that realization starts to hit home, cultural change (not the symptom Facebook) will really take place.

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