John McCann

Create, share, consume

In Human nature on March 10, 2006 at 4:01 pm

Back in 2004, Robert Scoble wrote something about human nature that I find very profound.

“The impulse to create is strong. The impulse to share is strong. The impulse to consume is strong. These are the trends for the digital decade.”

Many of us want to create something new. Once we create it, we want to share it with others. And we want to consume (use, read, watch, listen, etc) the creations of other people. That seems to be the true nature of the Participation Age, as opposed to the mass age when we seemed to only have an impulse to consume.

When I look back at my professional life, I see that I have followed this path since I got out of college and started working as an R&D engineer at GE where I worked on the creation of new products for deep space flight, nuclear reactors, and gas centrifuges that separated the isotopes of uranium.

My academic career was all about creating and sharing. I created a couple of dozen different courses and then taught them to thousands of students. I wrote dozens of papers and several books which I shared through the publication process. I consulted with several dozen firms, sometimes creating new knowledge for them and always sharing what I knew as part of the consulting assignment

Consuming in the academic world involves reading the work of others and providing them with feedback. You do such reading continually, whether reading referred journals or working papers which are sent to you or conducting formal refereeing of papers submitted to journals.

I find it very interesting that the blogosphere has a culture that is similar to the academic one. Bloggers create something new in their compositions and share it via their blogs. They consume the blogs of other people and comment on blog posts in their own blog.

I also find it interesting that the desire to create, share and consume are the elements of human nature that are driving the Dawn of the Participation Age.

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