The Idea Dude


Friday, November 14, 2008

Ghost from the past

There's one email in my inbox that gets filed away today. It's exactly a year old, sent to myself because it struck a powerful chord. In the email is a link to Kate's post. She asked what's next for blogging?

A year later, I'm not closer to the answer.

MySpace, Facebook, Twitter has gotten bigger. Virtual worlds are be coming more commonplace and social networks are the flavor of the day. But what has really changed? Or is it more of the same?

I remember watching fish in a local aquarium fascinated by how a whole school would follow one fish across the tank. Then distracted by another, they would follow another all the way. It would go on and on in an endless cycle. In some ways, the Internet has become just that. People chasing fads and fancies. The only constant is change. Who will be next Internet prom queen?

Not to say there is nothing good in the Internet. It has facilitated the speed of connection and conversion and thereby built communities (whether it is 2 or thousands) that may not otherwise have happened. It has given everyone a voice and an opinion. It is a wonderful evolution of technology.

But in it's haste, it is generating as much noise as it is generating information. Our lives have not become simpler but more complex. Because time has not expanded to accommodate everything we now have to cram into a second. We feel we have to read every blog, return every vampire bite on Facebook or answer every comment, follow every Twitter. We have a responsibility to our friends if we get poked in Facebook. Digital distractions at its very worst.

I can't help but believe that we are still in our digital infancy. This is still the era of instantiation and experimentation. At the end of the day, the constants of today are still mundane and boring things like email, IM and HTML.

But what does emerge is that people are willing to try without thinking of money as a consequence. Build the model and the money will come goes the entrepreneurial thought of today. Good for us but bad for the entrepreneur (at least most of them, for a large number will fail). Darwin exists in technology. An excellent example of this is the Ocarina iPhone application by the folks at Smule. They've built an experience that can only work on an iPhone, using touch, the microphone and the portability of the device to create a digital musical instrument. Would it change our lives. Unlikely but they are pushing the frontiers of digital experience beyond what we are used to today.

A year from now, hopefully I'll remember to look back again and figure out whether we have better hi-fidelity Internet.

For now, this email will get filed away, finally. One ghost put to rest while I continue to look for closure if it even exists...


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