Years ago, we used to talk about how the internet reflects the collective consciousness of society. We the people are creating the internet in our own image. But sometimes, don't you find yourself looking around Our Internet thinking you don't fully relate to it anymore? My friend and arctic explorer Inge Solheim likes to say, "if aliens landed on our planet today and looked at what we are producing on the internet, they would loose all faith in humanity."
I am a Mom (aged 45), a foodie, a runner, and a former high-flying technology analyst turned enslaved entrepreneur. My Internet is the internet that I relate to - the Internet of parenting, food, health, finance, culture and technology. It is information-based and also where I search for meaning to supplement my day-to-day. As Arianna Huffington says, "the internet has moved from the search for information to the search for meaning."
Today Our Internet over-indexes to young people. 70% of blogs are written by people under the age of 35. Video (57% of all consumer internet traffic) skews heavily towards boys or young men. Men under 35 are 50% more likely to watch video than women in the same age bracket. These 'super users' of Our Internet are skewing the collective consciousness in their own image.
I love thinking about life through the analogy of food. Food says so much about how we live and who we are. You are what you eat. Today, the collective consciousness is more interested in healthy living - gluten free, paleo, farm to table or just plain simple and fresh cooking. Yet this new consciousness is not reflected online. The most popular cooking show on YouTube, Epic Meal Time, has almost three quarters of a billion views in just over 3 years. Here is an opening quote from a recent Epic Meal Time video:
'We are going to take all these McRibs and Double Cheeseburgers and roll them up into a giant sushi roll - basically all you could eat after you smoked a roll that big'.
Such content generates high virality because of its shock factor. A recent UT Austin academic study on viral videos analyzing YouTube data concluded:
"Through examining the most popular videos on YouTube, we are able to categorize them into two distinct groups: the group consists of videos that feature high quality, engaging scenes, articulated story lines (high-quality videos), and the other group of videos often include questionable behaviors that deviate from social norms yet still gain tremendous popularity (attention grabbers). We found that videos with anti-social content initiate higher network effects than quality-oriented productions." Ultimately, our collective consciousness needs to be fed with positivity and wonder instead of negativity and shock factor. People are looking for inspiration. We want to live better, feel better and be better. We need Our Internet to deliver on this promise. If content doesn't deliver along this new utility curve - we are less interested. We simply don't have the time. We need to create platforms from the ground up that not only enable better discovery but also enable positive network effects around quality content that is lost on other platforms.
Video is and will continue to be the primary vehicle for our collective consciousness. Moving pictures and sound have the power to instruct and inspire like no other medium. And video is still in its infancy. According to Cisco, it would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross Global IP networks each month in 2017 and in the same year consumer Internet video traffic globally will be 69% of all consumer Internet traffic.
Our Internet will grow up. The super-users of today will eventually get a mortgage, push prams, pay the rising bills and finally understand their parents. They will start to think more and more about healthy living, real community and leaving a positive legacy for our planet.
The world is full of wonder. You just have to know where to find it.