In one of my prepared remarks, I like to point out that mankind has made huge progress towards our current “civilized state” only during the last 2% of our time on the planet. For the earlier 98%, we were far too busy just surviving.
What happened that changed the game? It was not that man suddenly got smarter. If you go back to the beginning, man had the same 100 billion neurons in his brain that we have. What happened is that man discovered some highly useful tools that accelerated the acquisition and dispersion of learning. As man learned how to use these tools better, the learning accelerated and innovation (applications of learning) became more routine.
Conventional wisdom is that internet is the most advanced tool ever devised to accelerate exchanges of information. That may be so. But having the capacity to do exchanges does not mean that we will do it well. We are still looking for tools that accelerate our acquisition and dispersion of learning.
In that regard, check out what Bloomberg Businessweek has to say today about Evernote. I do not argue that Evernote is the magic tool that we seek. But I do find the distinction made between Evernote and Facebook et al to be instructive. With Facebook et al, we transmit to the world what we want the world to see. This is not necessarily the most useful information that we have. With Evernote, we record the information about who we really are.
My point - we have a way to go yet before we stop thinking about marketing as a form of manipulation and start using it more to promote learning. My bet is that we will figure this out, and soon.