The time spent on social networks by users went up by 30% in one year

According to Nielsen studies, the time spent on Facebook on average in the US is now (August 2011) almost 8 hours per month –  up from a bit less than 6h in August 2010.

That’s the average for 163 million US Facebook users. Or, in total, an astonishing cumulative 54 million days spent by all US Facebook users during that month. Communicating, chatting, sharing, collaborating.

It’s a flood of collaboration. Is that time wasted or time used appropriately? Some bloggers seem to think it is time wasted: see for example The name of the link is revealing of the mindset of the writer, although the post itself is just named “You spent 8 hours a month on Facebook [STATS]“.

Well people obviously find an interest and prefer to go on Facebook rather than watching TV. And although many Facebook posts are quite superficial, no doubt there are nuggets there ready to be harvested.

The Fourth Revolution is just kicking off. Time spent on Facebook and other social networks generates value. How do you benefit from this value?


Still skeptical about the Fourth Revolution? Read this post, and experience it firsthand!

Have you seen this video on TED? “What we learned from 5 million books” video on TED.

The idea is dead simple but only the Fourth Revolution would allow it. Based on Google’s now huge and unprecendented database of scanned books, researchers have setup a tool that looks for the frequency of words depending on the date of publication.

The 5 million of books they use as a basis is quite a representative sample (4%) of the 129 million books ever published.

Not only that, but the tool is available online at, an interactive tool that lets you test your own words or combination of words, and look at how they evolve over time. I can testify that you can spend some time playing with it (and that’s an understatement). I just put here three examples I have done myself – all graphs range from 1800 to 2008

In the first example, using the frequency of the words “farmer”, “worker”, “employee”, “servant” and “slave”, we see how the concept of servant (yellow) disappears over time, while “workers” (red) and “employees” (green) are newer concepts.

n-gram from servant to employee
n-gram from servant to employee

In the second example, with the words “spiritual”, “intellectual” and “emotional”, we see how the frequency of “spiritual” diminishes after 1860, while “emotional” is quite a new word growing through the 20th century.

n-gram from spiritual to emotional
n-gram from spiritual to emotional

In the third example, we just watch the Fourth Revolution ignite, with the words “collaborative” and “networking”:

collaborative networking n-gram
collaborative networking chart

The incredible thing is that you can yourself do your own research, because the data from the 5 million books (approximately 500 billion words!!) is there, at the reach of your mouse, anywhere in the world.

I write about the Fourth Revolution but that does not mean I am not WOW’d by it regularly. WOW! Try it yourself on Google n-grams interactive site. And watch – the more this tool will become known, the more people will use its graphs to illustrate historical tendencies. Private people will do their own research. Humankind’s collective cognitive capability will be unleashed.

What a better illustration of the Fourth Revolution? This would have just been impossible 2 years ago. WOW.


How patent litigation cost half a trillion dollar inefficiency in the last 20 years!

Following the popular last blog post on patent trolls, I have found very interesting data and reviews on

The first paper is titled: “Study: patent trolls have cost innovators half a trillion dollars since 1990”.

Let’s repeat: the cost of defending innovation has been 500,000,000,000 (500  billion) dollars for publicly traded defendants since 1990! And it has increased over time to a staggering 83,000,000,000 (83 billion) dollars per year in the last four years!

And some researchers (Bessen and Meurer in their book Patent Failure) have shown that showed that, outside the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, the cost of patent litigation had already begun to exceed the rewards to inventors by the year 2000. Their new work suggests that the problem has gotten much, much worse since then. And that the intellectual property system is definitely broken. It is supposed to bring wealth to society; actually is stymies it!!

The book “Patent Failure” is reviewed here. I can’t help copying in this post – with all due respect to copyright – a stunning graph from the book (other industries refer to other than chemical and pharmaceutical – mainly software):

Patent litigation costs explosion
Patent litigation costs are now far higher than benefits

No doubt. The intellectual property system is deeply broken and needs to be mended. Otherwise innovation might just be scared away by a bunch of parasites.

And… what better illustration for the Fourth Revolution ignition?!?

No doubt – that’s an area where the Fourth Revolution is already there and deep institutional changes are required, and fast.


The national debt crisis is a normal consequence of the Fourth Revolution

No wonder the developed world suffers of a national debt crisis: with the Fourth Revolution spreading, the value production systems shifts. Our traditional government funding and operation are obsolete. As well as the traditional remediation solutions.

National Debt Crisis
The national debt crisis becomes unsustainable

Because tax systems are based on an Industrial Age view of the value production system, taxes necessarily shrink relative to the overall economy.

Because social support systems and government operation are based on Industrial Age view of career, retirement, social support, scope of responsibility of government, expenses continue to be huge, and to increase.

With the Fourth Revolution, instant transmittal of information and funds, and globalization, gone is the golden age of the Industrial Age where governments could resolve this dilemma by creating more money, devaluating currencies, playing with trade barriers.

The debt crisis is a direct consequence of the fact that our collective social systems are still operating under the framework of the Industrial Age while the world is already in the Fourth Revolution.

For governments, to continue along the sames lines as before will at best delay the inevitable. But that is what all governments do right now! We need to take the grasp of the fundamental shift of our societies. A Revolution in our social contract is needed. Now.


The Fourth Revolution: grieving the world we understood

It is well known to change practitioners that people, when faced with a significant change that touch them emotionally, go through stages of grief. The classical model involves the following successive stages:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
  • Gratefulness

So, the same happens when faced by an earth-shattering transformation like the Fourth Revolution. We are grieving the world we understood, which seemed so stable and so easy to understand.

A large number of people are in still in denial; others are angry of their perceived lack of control over what is evolving. Others try to bargain out of it so as to remain on the side of the road in minimum comfort. Still others are in total depression because they feel they can’t cope with the changes of the world. And some – a minority – perceive this change as an opportunity.

An excellent resource on the particular case of social media is the post by Amber Naslund on Social media adoption and the stages of grief.

So, regarding the Fourth Revolution, at what stage of grief are you?


The new era: we are now in the year 12 A.G. (After Google)

Did you know that the Fourth Revolution marks the beginning of an era?

after google
after google

I mean, a new Era that starts again the Calendar? Like B.C. and A.D.?

Some people now count the years as B.G. (Before Google) and A.G. (After Google).
Google was incorporated in September 1998, do the maths!

That also works the other way round – I was born in 26 A.G.. I really feel like from the past era!

And you, do you feel you belong to the B.G. or to the A.G. generation?


The empathic civilization by Jeremy Rifkin – neuroscience discoveries and the Fourth Revolution

This great animated video by “RSA animate” discusses the empathic civilization, based on a presentation by Jeremy Rifkin.

It shows how very recent neuroscience findings (1990 onwards), using the new technologies of non-invasive brain imagery (a result of the new theories of physics like quantum mechanics that are the precursor of the Fourth Revolution), give incredible insights on the operation of body and mind. That when communication exists between human beings, we automatically empathize.

Thanks to the new long distance interactive communication technology, we can empathize with the whole of humankind, with the whole world. The fundamental consciousness shift that is occurring today as a result will change the world, because our family is extended to the entire humankind and beyond.

We empathize with people at the other end of the globe that are suffering hardship. We give to causes that are entirely alien to our daily life, to fight poverty or hunger at the other end of the globe.

Are you ready to look at humankind as just one single family?


Part 4 of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto is now online!

Today, in our daily life, there are already precursors of the Fourth Revolution that transform deeply our world. Things that don’t fit with the conventional world-view of the Industrial Age. Find out more about FOUR PRECURSORS of the FOURTH REVOLUTION you meet everyday in your life.

Fourth Revolution Manifesto part IV cover

You can access the fourth part of the Fourth Revolution Manifesto – FOUR PRECURSORS of the FOURTH REVOLUTION by clicking on the link. You can also read and share the document on Scribd – it has a great reader and can also be used as a backup if the above link does not work: the Fourth Revolution Manifesto – part IV on Scribd .

Don’t hesitate to comment and bring in suggestions in the comments to this blog post!

Can’t wait to see the follow-up? Next week we’ll dive deep into the consequences of the Fourth Revolution in the organizations – the Organization Revolution!