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Where the media end and you begin

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When I heard Morris Shechtman, a management consultant, say that, my first thought was, "How obvious!" But then I realized how profound it was.

You will keep eating the same foods until you learn about a new, more delicious food, and living in the same city until you hear about a better opportunity in another city. All it takes is new information about something that will improve your life, and change happens.

This is the equation for all personal and global change: New information drives choices, and choices drive change.

Change is happening all over the world, this instant, because people are discovering new choices. And it's been going on through history - but when information multiplies as it is today, the pace of change goes wild.

Everything is changing faster than ever: consumer goods, technology, and lifestyles - even the world's economic, social, and political structures.

People make choices one at a time, but when a lot of people do it at once, the impact is huge. The Rose Revolution happened in the nation of Georgia in 2003 because people knew their election had been stolen, and so did those who joined the Orange Revolution in Ukraine last year.

To see how the information environment has changed, look at Adrian in my grandfather's day, when people got new information from just a few sources: a daily newspaper, word of mouth, letters, books, and an occasional national magazine or mail-order catalog. That's it: No radio, TV, cable, Internet, or cellphones - even telephones were new.

You got hardly any new information in a day - and, so, life barely changed for decades. Most people had one job all of their lives, lived in one town, had one spouse. In Adrian today, there's still one daily newspaper, but there are 25 or 30 radio stations and hundreds of TV channels via cable or satellite. Everybody has cellphones. And you can jump onto the Internet - broadband, of course - and instantly search the largest aggregation of information humanity has ever known. And more is on the way. Digital TV broadcasting is coming soon, allowing up to seven or eight times as many channels. Satellite radio is here, and digital radio soon may quintuple the number of stations. Websites multiply with no limit. And there'll be more.

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