What is driving the culture – Social Media and Culture Change Series

In my first post i blogged about organisations as culture filters, what i intended to share was my understanding and views on social media and culture change the the links the two have in terms of helping to transform society and organisations.

This second post will look at: What is driving the culture change

It has been important for me to understand or at least start to understand why the tools we are now using are so popular and why there is a desire to explore the tools in new ways. I started to ask myself what basic needs do these tools meet and what do they really offer people?

I think the key to these new tools is that they ALL put the individual (you and me) right at the centre of everything.


Within each section there are particular devices, tools, websites etc


  • Broadband/wifi
  • Mobile phone
    • iphone
    • google phone
    • video on demand
    • sky +
  • Music
    • Amazon mp3
    • itunes
    • last fm
  • Hobbies, interests and activities
    • Camra
    • ultimate guitar.com
    • catster
    • delicious
    • World or Warcraft
    • Playstation 3, Xbox and Nintendo Wii (online gaming networks)
  • Photos and online memories
    • flickr
    • lifestream
    • picasso
    • youtube
    • vimeo
  • Online banking


  • Business network
    • VOIP
    • WAN /LAN
    • instant Messenger
    • Business phone
  • Business networking
    • audio and video conferencing
    • collaboration
    • business applications
  • Training and eLearning
    • Peer to peer learning
    • second life
    • online research (wiki’s)

Friends / Networks

  • Communication
    • email
    • social networking
    • text messaging
    • Instant messenging
  • family and health
    • online diagnosis
    • communities of interest (support groups etc)
  • where i work
    • linked in
    • monster
    • wetfeet
    • xing

World / Community

  • Shopping  and eCommerce
    • ebay
    • amazon
    • tripadvisor
  • Finance and money
    • moneysupermarket.com
    • which
    • google checkout
    • paypal
  • News and views
    • blogging
    • Digg
    • share this content
    • ciao
  • Connection
    • RSS
    • status updates (facebook, twitter)
    • delicious (shared bookmarks)
    • Communities of interest

So where do all these tool fit in with our basic needs in life: food, water etc.

If you look at A.H Maslows hierarchy of needs (see diagram below), you can see that these tool are now fitting into this model and explains why to some degree the tools are rapidly growing and expanding and becoming core to how people interact and participate on and offline. I hadn’t made this connection until recently listening to my wife talking about her NVQ in Children’s Care, Learning and Development. I started to wonder whether the concept of a digital native (someone who was born into this technology age) is essentially seeing the new tools and communications methods which others see as “toys” or “playthings” as “core” techniques and therefore they form part of their hierarchy of needs.


But i still ask myself WHY are the tools so pervasive in society today and why are they changing the culture so much.

Well for me this is still one of the keys areas for learning but so far my view is that in recent history the pace of adoption of new technologies has been relatively slow, but social media and web 2.0 tools have rapid take-up and hit huge volumes, so much so that the impact of such an increase is causing friction and the cultures that exist are being forced to either become stronger to resist change or break down.

Another key issue for why i think the tools are transforming they way people communicate and interact so quickly is the cost to participate is very low and the cost to develop is low. The open source idea is the new democracy.

This presents a number of fundamental challenges to the public sector and to individuals in shaping society. So far for most people these new tools are increasing their opportunities to participate and engage in new networks, communities but we are only starting to explore the benefits within local and central governments. and this will be the topic of my next post “What has to change in Government”


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