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Information, Technology, and Innovation: Resources for Growth in a Connected World by John M. Jordan

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CHAPTER 32

Communications and Relationships

It's reasonably obvious that the state of a society's communications tools will shape the size, nature, and intensity of potential interpersonal relationships within that society, and vice versa. Cave painting, orally transmitted legends, tabloid newspapers, and telephones each support different kinds of social networks. Smartphones and the Internet are no different: The changing state of our tools is altering how we relate, and new ways of relating feed back into the evolution of the tool sets. Those evolving relationships have implications for work: Is your boss your Facebook friend? What do you do when a coworker's profile appears on Match.com? These new relationship patterns are shifting the nature of entrepreneurship: Why build a physical widget when you can write an app? Finally, there are huge commercial questions: Will Apple, Facebook, Google, or some other entity profit from being the same kind of force AT&T was in the heyday of the telephone as the dominant communications platform?

Three layers of the relationship questions merit attention. First, we consider the changing nature of our connections. Second, we examine what kinds of networks emerge from those connections. Finally, we see what creative possibilities emerge from the changes in the ways we relate and communicate with each other.

Connections

People of a certain age will remember what it was like to have two phone numbers, one for the workplace and one for home. If ...

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