(This blog post also exists in shorter form on the Guardian’s website.)
2010 saw massive adoption of social media channels. Not all the right ones in my mind but nevertheless people were saturating themselves with the social web and it felt almost normal to be a geek.
We learnt that changing your avatar green just stopped your friends recognising you. Politicians are as engaging online as they need to be before they batten down the hatches and that the more effective the internet gets at what it does, the more of a threat ‘the powers that be’ think it is.
Some people are beginning to realise the power of information and now we can share it better than ever before, ‘they’ feel this currency needs to be regulated.
Looking back digitally this last year has freaked me out a little. I appear to have managed to squeeze all kinds of projects in. Pakistan, Hong Kong, Spain, Kenya and Ireland to name a few.
Being a life blogger helps you punctuate time. Episodes aren’t lived and forgotten. They are recorded and remembered. If I were to pinpoint a highlight and low light though i would probably be half personal and half work related. My Grandmother being diagnosed with Dementia is certainly a low http://audioboo.fm/boos/197291-the-inevitable
The highs are many.. Watching my Son (@Minimentally) grow. Hitching a ride in a light aircraft in Africa and having 3G all the way! Working with the British Council in Pakistan. My completion of a rapid adventure from Lands End to John O’Groats using social media.. http://audioboo.fm/boos/225192-end-to-end-freebees
And the year to come? I hope we will stop talking about social media and relax into letting these practices get absorbed into a new way of doing things as integration of these tools and methods become invisible. I’m hoping marketing speak becomes outlawed as we realise no special language is needed to measure the world of relationships. Although I’m pretty sure how we ‘feel’ about a company or organisation will be monitored and assigned ‘ROI’ units or some such device to keep the statisticians and bean counters happy. The other values I hope will start becoming more obvious as mass adoption takes hold. And as it does, the language has to be simplified and inclusive. Terminology that divides the community creates this elitist tier, this echo chamber we try so hard to break out of.
The tech conference will also evolve. it has too.
Looking forward.. Certainly Exciting times are ahead.
I have just installed my router to the TV. Programs are streamed and films are ‘on demand’. News and comics are delivered to my iPad, audioboos to my iPhone and I know I have at least two iTunes store cards coming to me for christmas. Yet I am so missing the physical objects connected to these different flavours of media that I specifically asked Santa for a record player.
In fact I managed to intercept the postman to have it early and although the retro looking black box will allow me to insert an mp3 laden memory card, I have left that feature untouched as I explore boxes of my old records. Each record box taking up potential hard drive space worth terabytes. And I sit wistfully nodding my head to scratchy tracks and enjoying the artwork on what feels like oversized sleeves.
I miss the physical objects even though we don’t really need them. It’s the nostalgia and the emotions and memories we tie to these objects. As our web communications become more personal our purchases become less physical. Maybe this will change as we begin to be able to look back on the data we are creating and nostalgia is nurtured. Perhaps a smarter approach to location based apps will help more users bridge the gap between our online worlds and what many still refer to as ‘Real Life’.
All of this is very real to me.
And what am I secretly looking forward to? The rise of the un moderated, uncontrolled, un stoppable ‘Dark Net’.. for when the original internet gets turned off for being a weapon of mass information dissemination.
There will be more activists as the noose is tightened around our digital vocal chords. After all… As the old school media has announced, we are entering the age of the first info war.