Friday, December 29, 2006

Looking back and forwards (4)

Yesterday’s blog was a lead-up to forecasts for 2007. It was about types of content. Today I will go into the content media: books, magazines, newspapers, CDs, television and video tapes, but also the new internet media, such as internet itself, iPods, smart telephones. For things are changing fast from analogue devices to digital equipment. Besides not only the carriers change, but also the content.

In the analogue sphere content was bound to its carrier. A book was a certain type of carrier with a flap, an introduction, chapters, an index and a list of references. Magazines are quite different from books in the aspect of time. Books take 6 months to be published; magazines can take a week or a month, depending on the actuality. Newspapers are usually daily carriers of the news and carriers of heavy stuff in the weekend. The same goes for radio and television and the sound and image CDs.

But things started to change when everything became digital: the production process, the carrier and the ways of distribution. Texts are now integrated with graphics, photographs, sounds and video. They are now available in one stream and can be interrupted at a glance.

So the formats will change and the distribution methods. We have had sites and portals, accompanied by push and pull content and streaming audio and video as well download services of software, audio and video. In the social software we have now blogs (text and photographs) and vlogs (video, photographs and text). On Internet we have the theme channels of audio and video and downloads to iPods and other reader devices. In 2007 video will dominate over audio, graphics and texts.

But one of the new trends for 2007 will be the expansion of the RSS communities. So far RSS has been a nice tool for pushing content. But RSS fits also well as a community tool, gathering a community around a certain theme. What is nicer than to have a community which is interested in the same subject, wants to read many of the publications in that field, but not all, and wants to be drawn to certain publications? And it is not only text to which attention is drawn, but also audio and video. RSS is a nice tool to do so. In fact RSS is a warm blanket, giving you the security that you are up to the subjects with your peers. Once you have read the relevant articles, collected for you, you can start with the real work of thinking through the consequences. In these way texts, graphics, photographs, audio and video will be more integrated and made accessible in the coming year.

All these forecasts presuppose broadband. So far broadband has been used mainly for publishing in a wide sense. But broadband will be in use in 2007 as a social distribution infrastructure. Communication will dominate the use of broadband. Skyping with kin in a remote area, but also with colleagues working at home. And besides for publishing and communicating, broadband will start to be used for long time promise of tele-metering, collecting data from a distance on electricity, gas and water.

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