Collective Disruption

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. These names brandish celebrity status in the social networking world, and have fast become a household name to most in Western society and beyond. Wind back the clock 10 years, and the prolific impact these networks have had on society would be almost unimaginable.

Computer mediated communication (CMC) arguably now dominates over all other forms of human interaction – creating channels of communication across two or more individuals that transcends space and time like never before. Technological developments in CMC have advanced the world and communities by encouraging cross-pollination and dissemination of information and ideas. In his book The Artificial Ape, Timothy Taylor discusses ‘entailment’, relating to prehistoric artifacts having multiple meanings: mammoth ivory for a human limb or a lump of limestone to signify a woman for example (Taylor 2010, page 149) – Taylor suggests that some artifacts were used in place of or example to demonstrate a point or story. We see this translated to modern times; a semi colon and a bracket for a smile : ) Our communication is evolving to adapt to this new environment or TechniCulture.

In 1978 Boorstin theorized that “electronic communication would bind  nations in to a new form of community”. Without doubt, the Internet is the number one culprit we must hold responsible for the facilitation of electronic communication.

According to the Internet World Stats Online website, there are currently over 6.9 Billion internet users across the world – with Asia, Europe and America dominating the world share – equating to a 528.1% increase in usage since 2001. The world Internet penetration rates are lead by North America – with a 78.6% geographic penetration. Compare this with Africa, which is a mere 13.5% penetration.

In Australia, the importance and significance of the Internet is given perspective with the NBN project. The project is set to implement optic fiber, fixed wireless and satellite technologies to 93% of Australian homes, schools and businesses across the country in the next 10 years. The Australian Government is set to spend $35.9 Billion on this implementation, with the overarching goal of becoming one of the worlds leading digital economies.

The Internet has created a plethora of online networks. McLuhan (1964) suggested that as electronic communication evolved we would live in a boundless ‘global village’, this ‘village’ being the infinite series of connections across the world through networks. According to the ATIS (Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, 2012), a network “is a collection of hardware components and computers interconnected by communication channels that allow sharing of resources and information”. The value of a communications network to its users rises exponentially with the number of people connected to it (Brand, 2011).

Social Media Networks clearly dominate the stage with the global top three being Facebook, Blogger and Twitter. Social networks have changed human interaction forever, creating worldwide connections that span across cultures and societies. Over 65% of the worlds population have sent a message or uploaded photos to a profile (Smith, 2011).

From these networks comes great knowledge – and ergo we have Collective Intelligence. Collective Intelligence is a concept that pertains that more minds are better than the individual; a collaborative approach to information generation and creation is far better than singular efforts. In his book, Collective Intelligence, Pierre Levy argues for the development of collective intelligence. He states, “Collective intelligence will become the source and goal of other forms of wealth, open and incomplete, a paradoxical output that is internal, qualitative and subjective”.

What has this meant for businesses, specifically recruitment? With the advancement of technology, networking has become far easier – making the war for talent (a term coined by Stephen Hankin in 1997) even more gruesome.

Traditionally, recruiters would rely on candidates approaching them via advertising, referrals or word of mouth. Recruiters would build their network via a series of paper-based data files – a laborious and tedious system that if neglected, would soon become out of date. Search and recruitment process times could vary from anything from 30 days to longer… with some tales telling of +185 day recruitment processes.

Nowadays, the landscape has completely changed. Good recruiters no longer solely rely on traditional search methods – they have woven in new media strategies in order to attract, hunt and ultimately recruit the best talent – globally. It is not uncommon for a headhunter to be a ‘virtual recruiter’ with no set base or office to report to; they simply have their laptop, an internet connection, a Skype account and premium access on LinkedIn. They vet and develop relationships via Skype, and source their candidates from blogs, Facebook, Twitter and more. The average recruitment process for one candidate is anything as low as one day.

This has also significantly impacted the candidate landscape – particularly older, less tech-savvy generations. With the market now moving at ever increasing velocity, job seekers must adopt the latest and greatest in technology in order to stand out from the crowd – and secure their ideal job.

A great example of a candidate using digital media channels to his advantage is that of Alec Brownstein, a New York copywriter. Alec bought inexpensive ads on Google, to be triggered whenever the names of the five top agency creative directors were typed into the search engine. He was selected for interview by all of them, and was made jobs offer by two of the agencies.

This is just one example of many: people are developing innovative and creative ways to individualise themselves from the competition; so if you’re yet to land your dream job – GET DISRUPTIVE!



Flew, T (2008). New Media, an introduction. Oxford Press, VIC Australia

Internet world stats. Retrieved from:

Taylor, T. (2010) The Artificial Ape. Palgrave MacMillan New York, NY

The national broadband network, retrieved from:

The Alliance of Telecommunications Industry Solutions. Retrieved from:

J Brand (2012), Lecture Slides 2012 – week 7

Smith, T (2011) Social Media Usage. Retrieved from:

Image: Buck, S. World Social Networks – infographic. Retrieved from

Levy, P (1999). Collective Intelligence: Mankinds Emerging World in Cyberspace. Robert Bononno

The war for talent. Retrieved from:


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