IMPACT in a world defined by the Information Revolution

A guest post from Mike Morford. He is the CEO of Familywise Digital, a Digital Media+Marketplace strategically serving the needs of Young Families dba www.babywise.life and www.babyearth.com

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Whether we realize it or not, the degree of influence, and the acceleration of that influence, that key digital gatekeepers are having in our lives and those around the world is exceptional.  Big data aggregators with democratically charged algorithms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Apple are wielding powerful influence in how we think, where our attention is directed, how we search for the truth, and who has sway in our lives. 

On the surface, these for-profit gatekeepers are using data to identify individual and group trends to sell product, subscriptions, devices, and ads.  Pattern recognition, operating faster than the competition, and personalizing offers, are generally a good thing.  This makes sense to a point, but they are wielding a far greater power.  They are influencing how we think as a society simply by sorting which articles, books, and media we consume and those that we do not.  Our morality, political perspectives, philosophies, and understanding of the truth are meaningfully impacted by how they choose to highlight or suppress information.  The information era is enabling president's in the free world to circumvent reporters (Twitter), governments to closely monitor and control their populace in communist countries (China), uprisings to overwhelm governments (Arab Spring), and strangers to make a living picking up hitchhikers (Uber).

The question is, where are we going with all this? who's taking us there? And how will this affect our societies, families, and the generations that follow?  Using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and what has been called the 'wisdom of the crowd', these data companies are attempting to define the truth by utilizing a combination of popularity metrics and research methodologies.  Right or wrong, these algorithms are also reflecting the world view of their creators and corporate leadership.  Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Reed Hastings, Tim Cook, Jack Ma, and Robin Li are greatly influencing current and future generations, but are we?

We know the most profound change starts at an individual level, in our own homes and the lives of those around us. Yet, there is a generation of digital families rising up who trust Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, and social media influencers as their primary resource for help with life's most difficult questions. 

As we take up the mantel of leadership from generations past, how do we strategically impact future generations in the information era.  How do we ensure that life-giving timeless truth, grace and wisdom of the living God is made known?  For some, these questions present an overwhelming response that seems too powerful or mysterious to challenge.  For others, a naïve fixation on bringing back the analog past consumes their focus.  

Solomon offered us a hint when he said, 'What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.' (Ecc 1:9).  If we look to historical examples and contextualize them into modern circumstances, the answers can often be found.  Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Esther, Isaiah and Daniel are just a few examples of people who faced overwhelming challenges by listening carefully to the Lord and strategically working within the human power structures of their day.  A closer look at 'technology' reveals how others have used it to spread God's message: the disciples used the cutting edge technology of Roman Roads and Shipping Routes, Martin Luther used the Gutenberg Press, Billy Graham leveraged Newspapers, Radio and TV.  Each carefully studied the new technology to deliver a message of hope.

In so many ways the Information Era is unleashing an unprecedented opportunity to reach the world on an individual basis with the timeless message of hope in spotlighting the truth of a loving, relational God.  In a digital world so easily swayed by the shifting winds of fleeting popularity and relativism a message of hope can be strategically shared in social media, search engines, digital entertainment, and marketplaces.  There are many ways to pursue this including for profit purpose-driven entities that may offer a more sustainable route for long term impact.  Who do you know with the momentum to make a difference?  How are you prioritizing your investments for digital IMPACT? We'd love to hear your thoughts so comment below.