Changing Times

Despite the fact that many people consider me to be working on the cutting edge of research, business and technology, i generally go through my days a little oblivious to the massive amounts of change that are occurring in the world right now.  Tonight, though, i found myself bowled over by it.  Here’s the scenario: At around 10.30pm i was working on a SociaLens project at home, when the following message reached me via Twitter, via Chris Andersen, the Editor of WIRED magazine:

I jumped over to the link, which was a live stream of the launch party for Local Motors, a company i had been following off and on for the past year or so.  They are a small car company with a VERY interesting business model. They use the Internet heavily as part of their co-creative process, which results in a limited-run car that is assembled at local micro-factories by groups of owners. I have discussed Local Motors as part of my New Media Theory course at Indiana University because of their extensive use of the Internet as part of their process. Here’s a much better description of their process:

The development and testing process has been highly-documented online, as you can see from this video of the testers jumping the first car they are producing:

So tonight, while working on another project, i followed a live stream of the launch party for the opening of their Chandler, AZ micro-factory. During the live stream, i “met” Aurel – one of their designers, who ambled up to the laptop and answered a few questions:

..and we chatted with Nyko, who walked around with the laptop to show us a location in the building where he had almost lost his hand working on the wood floor..

..as well as their CIO (the guy in the white shirt to the left – to the right is the band for the event)..

..who showed interest in my research, and with whom i will likely connect at some time later for a conversation about how our my PhD and SociaLens research relates to the Local Motors business model.

Now, when i step back and think about this for a second (and, i might add, write this blog post, which is instantly available to you the reader anywhere on earth), i’m bowled over by the media’s effect on Local Motors, on my PhD, and on SociaLens. Our use of the Internet has pretty radically expanded the speed and scale of what we do.  The times really are changing.

(oh, and by the way, if this post was written badly i hope that you will forgive me.  You see, i was watching the launch party live and writing the post in real time–a fact which is interesting in and of itself!)

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