The retired Wyoming cattleman and former Grateful Dead songwriter is widely attributed with applying the term "cyberspace" to the Internet
His weathered face is a ready reminder of his 17 years punchin' cows. Yet his role as co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation speaks to a vision unbounded by cattle fences and the Wind River Mountains that overlooked his ranch.
"The Internet," I recall Barlow saying during a 1995 Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement Conference in Minneapolis, "is like stepping from the landscape onto the map." Time / space no longer constrain us.
Fast forward to social media ... 2010!
Facebook. 500,000,000 million users. Twitter Tweeps Tweeting ... at the speed of life.
"There is no work-life balance," a colleague noted during a recent panel sponsored by Minneapolis St Paul Social Media Breakfast. "There is just life."
I wonder how John Perry Barlow (@JPBarlow) sees our new social world. He once said that “in the information economy, attention is the monetary unit.” But who is paying attention?
The global threat is no longer over population. It’s attention deficit disorder.
We have jumped off the map into a social sphere hurtling through space / time at astonishing speed.
Fasten your seat belts. Place your seat backs and trays in an upright position. Warp speed ahead!