The Communications Revolution
In the 1996 movie “Michael”, John Travolta plays an angel that makes the comment “I invented standing in line. Before that people would just mill around.”
Besides being funny, that line often makes me wonder about the origin of new things I come across. Whether it’s a new way to package toothpaste, a new way the waiter at my favorite restaurant runs my credit card or a new household cleaner, I want to know how it came to be.
“Where did this come from,” I often ask myself. “Who invented this?”
For most things we never know the answer. The “inventor” is often an employee of a big company and all we know is “it’s a Monsanto product.” A man named Jack Kilby invented the integrated circuit in 1958 while he was employed by Texas Instruments and got a $500 bonus for coming up with an idea that changed the world, but the patent was held by TI and Kilby’s name was never popularly associated with his invention (except in “integrated circuit circles”).
Then there are the things that are so huge and so broad and so ancient that we will never be able to put a name or face to them. Many were team efforts or things that just emerged overtime. The alphabet and writing, for example, developed in several different cultures at different times (thus the many languages we speak) so, even though the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia are believed to be the first in this arena, there is no “Jack Kilby” when it comes to early communications.
The invention of the alphabet and writing are now known by those who study such things as “The First Information Communications Revolution.” With a name like that, this was something that clearly changed the world.
There was a “Second Information Communications Revolution” and this time we know exactly who to credit with the inventions that brought it about. Sometime around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg came up with some gadgets involving movable type and the printing press was born. Now communications could be speeded up by assembly line printing, thus, getting the word out to the masses in a hurry, at least by 1450 standards.
So, that brings us to “The Third Information Communications Revolution.” When do you think that happened? Ding! Ding! Ding! Time’s up.
We’re living in it. Right now, the scholars that deem such things to be important say we are in only the third period of significant communications changes IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed…and even honored to get to be a part of something so big!
To be specific, this Third Information Communications Revolution is tied to computers and things like the Internet, “The Digital Age.” By the way, we also know who invented The World Wide Web part of the Internet (no Al Gore jokes, please). A guy named Tim Berners-Lee and his team came up with something called Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Hyper Text Markup Language (you know it as HTML) that allowed people on different computers around the world to talk to one another. Voila! Next thing you know, you’re texting on your Smart Phone.
So, here we are in the midst of an historical, world changing event…only the third of its kind since man started drawing on cave walls around 30,000 B.C.
I find that, shall we say, significant. The question is: what are going to do with it?
Here at Phillips Media Source, we’ve decided to not only embrace it, care for it, love it and cherish it…we plan to exploit it to the best of our abilities.
Never has there been a more exciting time for people and companies and institutions and grandmas and grandchildren to talk to each other. When you think about it, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Whether you’re a big Fortune 500 corporation or a tiny not-for-profit agency or an educational institution that’s been around for decades or a hospital or…well, you get the idea…it’s all about communicating with one another.
It’s about being open and honest and totally visible (what we call transparency) and about being genuine and real and truly heartfelt.
It’s an exciting time so let’s not waste any (time, that is). Let’s talk. It’s easy.