Thursday, 22 November 2007


I was at a dinner last week with a number of CEOs from a variety of different start-up companies, including those in the tech sector. The average age was slightly higher than is normally the case at these start-up events but even so I was taken aback by some of the commentary.

Wine was free flowing and conversation open and I may have responded with slightly more vigour than normal to the assertion from a fellow attendee that the 'social communities on the internet are killing any sense of normal social interaction between today's youth and creating a vacuous generation'.... in fact if memory serves correctly I think I said 'Bollocks' as a reflex before I could bite my tongue.

Honestly. Where do you start in trying to unravel that thinking?

Others may have been able to do so more eloquently but I pointed to the ability of people to connect with others that share their precise interest, how people are sharing more about themselves then previously in order to form these communities, how these online communities are now reinforcing the old community ties that people fondly recall from yesteryear, how these communities are creating a far more mature dialogue on a large number of topics and how these communities begin to reassert themselves in the physical world.

For the latter, here is an amusing example - perhaps does nothing for the audience at that dinner to persuade them of a less vacuous generation but it made me laugh and does I think illustrate a powerful point.

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