“New! Improved!” used to be enough to sell new products (and new ideas).
Now there seems to be a trend – I’m sure you’ve noticed it too – for slapping a number on the end of a word in an attempt to appear trendy and progressive. As if e.g. Business 3.0 is a “new, improved, washes-whiter” version of whatever Business 2.0 was.
It’s getting to the point where I suspect escalation will soon set in. I wanted to rant about it, but in a constructive way – and then found I was fresh out of ideas for a rant. But I did come up with this:
In the world of promoting collections of ideas – Web 2.0, Social 2.0, Organisation 2.0, Management 3.0 (several versions), Business 2.0, etc. – the coinage has become so debased that such terms are on the verge of risibility. Maybe more relevant, though, we’ll all soon lose track of the ever-growing collection of such memeplexes.
We might choose to regard each such label – let’s take “Management 3.0” as an example – as an identifier for a certain, source-specific memeplex in the global namespace of organisational memeplexes.
Aside: Personally, I’d love to see some conventions arise for the structuring and presentation of the content (e.g. memes) of these memeplexes, too.
If we really want to provide unique identifiers for each memeplex, avoiding inadvertent clashes, and giving some clues as to the original context for the memeplex, we might choose to use a scheme similar to the way Java handles package naming issue: i.e. the use of hierarchical domain names in memeplex identifiers. This also offers an alternative to the gee-wiz naming escalation I wanted to rant about.
Combine this convention with e.g. version control (git or mercurial spring to mind) of the content (memes, structure) of each memeplex, and we have the possibility of a global memeplex namespace with versioned content. We might also obviate the possibility of memeplex name clashes in the future.
Some examples of memeplex names using namespaces:
Of course, where marketing is involved, logical and rational organisation often plays second fiddle to naked self-interest.
Postscript: The Singularity
Of course, soon after the technological singularity arrives, computers will be running our organisations (even assuming we then still have “organisations”). It would be nice to anticipate that future and lay the groundwork for some aspects, like namespaces, of the software systems that will make that happen. Executable memeplexes will emerge – it might be nice to lay some of that groundwork now.
Memeplex – Wikipedia definition