With all of the focus on the upcoming presidential election, it got me thinking this morning about the state of the digital union at this same time in 2008, and all that has changed since then. It’s remarkable to reflect on the growth of mobile, social – frankly all digital advancements – since the last presidential election. Four years is truly a lifetime.
At this time in 2008, Twitter had 3 million users, and today it’s approaching 200 million. Facebook had 100 million users in August of 2008, and today it’s about to cross one billion users. Smartphone adoption in the U.S. was at 12% in Q3 2008, and now it’s approaching 60%…on it’s way to 100%. At this time in 2008, Square, Instagram and Pinterest didn’t even exist. This rapid pace of adoption, change and innovation not only continues, but is accelerating.
And the numbers only tell half the story. Frankly, the power of what you can do via laptops, smartphones and tablets today compared to 2008 is just as exponential, and even more astounding. (Actually, now that I think about it, there weren’t any tablets back then – certainly not how we think about tablets today, and none as amazing and powerful as the iPad.) Fundraising for campaigns, nonprofits and start-ups, journalism, credit card processing, retail payments, web surfing, content consumption and creation, communications, photography, video facetime … everything …is now being impacted, disrupted and changed so quickly. Four years ago we couldn’t have imagined the landscape today.
And as fast as it evolved since 2008, it’s moving even faster now. Four years from now will be another lifetime. If you sit down today to plan how to react, innovate and take advantage of today’s landscape, you have to factor in that, by the time you implement anything significant, the world will have changed again by the time you implement your idea or project. Frankly. I think it’s breathtaking, exciting, and unlike anything the world has ever seen before. [By definition, if change is exponential, then at each step along the way, the pace of change is literally unprecedented.] I know I’m stating the obvious with all of this, but I can’t help but step back this morning and just take a pause to observe and reflect. Now…enough reflecting, time to pick my jaw up off the floor, roll up my shirtsleeves, and get back to figuring out how to stay ahead of the power curve on all of this. I need to go figure out what changed while I was writing this post. Couldn’t be more psyched about it all.