The Blogger, the Startup, and the Future
2010 was the year of the blogger. By the end of 2010 there were 152 Million blogs on the internet. Many of us were there in the fray and posting up to 6 or 7 times a week (I know I was) and some of us even multiple times per day. Blogs shook up the world of journalism and influence and paved the way for the next leap in the way people communicate, shop, chatter and share. In 2010 there were so many social networks that any website or blog that dared jump into social media sharing would have 10-20 “chicklets” at the bottom of each page to try and cover them all in hopes of expanding their reach.
2011 changed all that as it became the year of the startup. Gradually we saw Del.icio.us, Digg, Plurk, Ning, Friendfeed, Hi5, and a myriad of other social networks competing in the “Social Network Wars” along side Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn while Google+ waited quietly in the wings for the dust to settle. At the end we got our 4 major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. and Tumblr) while the aforementioned ones began to fade into disuse. Google+ joined near the end and to considerable success due in large part to their limited release marketing model that had people who got in early bragging, and those on the waitlist foaming at the mouth for a peek at the hot new thing, becoming the 5th major social network. The thing to keep in mind, with the exception of Google, is that the brands mentioned for 2011 are for the most part, still startups, not publicly traded companies. Because the cream rose to the top, new startups began to spring up in 2011 that saw the simplified social networking landscape as an opportunity to create new products that took advantage of this whether on your tablet, laptop or mobile phone.
There has already been speculation about 2012, naturally, all over the web. What will it bring? What will 2012 do away with? What will be the killer platform and what will fade away into disuse like so many social networks and discovery engines did in 2011. Facebook is expected to make an IPO in 2012, Twitter is getting bigger and more ad supported, and mobile is expected to lead the way when it comes to what developers are working on. Will blackberry/RIM find a way to reinvent themselves before Q2 hits and it’s too late? Will Windows Phone 7 be Microsoft’s reawakening? What I can tell you is that mobile and mobile style applications are the future of computing in 2012 and beyond. Some of you have seen the Flexi-Screen phones from Samsung set to drop in 2012, and that should be indicative of the innovations coming forward. The paradigm is shifting once again, investment dollars are starting to be spent more readily and people are getting smarter.
Rannie and I were out to see a movie yesterday and took a second to appreciate how convenient our smartphones were. We had originally planned to see “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” but when we arrived at the theatre is was sold out. Not 10 or so years ago that would have meant the night would have been stymied as people used to check movie listings in the newspaper to find a showtime, or worse, call a hotline that would slowly and painfully read them all off to you in a recorded voice. It was just a matter of getting on Flixster and using the GPS function to tell us that within a certain radius there were other movies showing in a reasonable time slot. Before we knew it we were at the multiplex watching our second choice of “Sherlock Holmes 2″ with plenty of time to get popcorn, be seated and get comfortable. Seems simple and not that awe inspiring but consider that we could not even fathom that simple transaction 20 years ago it’s a big deal. Furthermore, to most people in their late 20′s or 30′s who were using computers before there WAS an internet, humankind has come a long way very quickly.
The very way people research anything is defaulted to the web and mobile and we are seeing encyclopedias go the way of the dinosaur in favour of the wiki. Our technology follows us wherever we go now and will continue to do so. The world has gotten ever smaller with social networks connecting people not just over great distances but from different social circles and milieus entirely. Businesses that are still skeptical and don’t keep up are biting the dust or spending dollars in the wrong places. Because Generation Y sits at the crossroads of the tried-and-true and the technological representation of those tried-and-true things, we are set to change the very face of the world in ways that will create an entirely new future in whatever image we choose for our children and their children. 2012 is the year we stop fearing the future and begin creating it for ourselves.
See you there.
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