Is it perverse that your boss might know more about your life than your best friends? That you spend more time with your desk neighbor at work than with your spouse? That your colleagues experience you in more emotionally extreme situations than most of your friends, in moments of utmost success and failure, triumph and defeat?
In 2010, it seemed everyone was eager to declare that print was finally dead, even before a proper funeral. The economic recession shed light on the outrageous cost of production (printing the New York Times costs twice as much as sending every subscriber a free Kindle) and led to threats of pay walls as solutions to covet content. Meanwhile, both the industry and icons of web journalism speculated about whether or not the iPad would be able to save our favorite magazines from vanishing entirely. And all this because of the Internet, where you don’t just look for news but the news is able to find you with the aid of real-time social sharing tools courtesy of powerful social networks. Curator Lauren Cornell focuses on the implications of these shifting flows of data in her new exhibit Free at the New Museum in New York. In a statement about the exhibit, Cornell comments on the power behind our growing digital culture "The internet is not just a medium, but also a territory populated and fought over by individuals, corporations, and governments; a communications tool; and a cultural catalyst."
So instead of fearing such a powerful cultural catalyst, long-time print publishers must embrace and harness it. In order to stake a claim in this growing digital territory, magazines will have to re-imagine their identity and disrupt their current content and advertising model to appeal to new hyper-social audiences thirsting for interactive media.
Silver Fish Hand Catch! As the social web’s echo chamber is gushing about Wieden+Kennedy (W+K)’s masterful Old Spice campaign (actor and former football star Isaiah Mustafa wowing viewers with his smooth-talking delivery in video replies to hundreds of online queries or comments tweeted to him by web users), first spoofs are manifesting its pop-cultural credentials, and the meta-story is increasingly becoming the story ("how did they do it?"), both practical and philosophical questions arise. The jury is still out on the campaign’s commercial impact (various news sites and blogs are reporting that sales have fallen by 7%, which various other news sites and blogs dispute). I’m more interested in the campaign as a cultural phenomenon and its lasting implications: Is it a one-off nifty idea or are we witnessing the emergence of something bigger than that, a whole new paradigm for marketers and content producers, as Mashable claims?
From “marketing in the age of streams” to the “Googlization of media” to “situational awareness” to “location, location, locaton” to “business becomes social” to “private becomes public” – in their latest report, Edelman’s digital mavens Steve Rubel and David Armano provide a solid overview of the six key digital trends to watch.
As widely discussed by privacy advocates and blogs, Facebook recently changed some of its privacy settings. Users are no longer able to limit the viewing of their profile photos, home towns, and friends lists to only approved friends. Those are all public now by default. Moreover, Facebook’s new default settings “recommend” that dynamic content such as status messages and photos be made public. While the blogosphere still closely scrutinizes these changes and is aghast at Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘privacy is over’ claims made at the Crunchies awards (he didn’t actually say it verbatim but his statements more or less implied it), I have to admit I was surprised that all this stirred such an uproar. Facebook is only reacting to a larger social trend as it strives to become an asymmetrical and therefore more growth-enabled network (or communications platform) – like Twitter. Privacy, at least a more traditional notion thereof, is the collateral damage of this strategic agenda. With the value of reciprocity (narrowcasting) succumbing to the prospect of exponentiality (broadcasting), privacy is no longer commercially exploitable. “No one makes money off of creating private communities in an era of ‘free,’” writes social networking researcher Danah Boyd in a blog post in which she otherwise harshly criticizes Facebook’s move. The age of privacy as we know it might be over indeed. Is it worth fighting for?
Describing itself as "a series of events built around a community of doers and thinkers who get together in Europe and Asia to explore the social consequences of new technologies," Lift is definitely one of the best conference networks out there. Laurent Haug, Lift founder and curator, is a wonderful host and has managed to maintain a strong sense of community despite continued growth. In addition to numerous satellite events with partners, Lift organizes conferences in France and Korea, as well as the annual Lift conference in Switzerland as its main hub.
If you only see one slide show about the State of the Internet in 2009, "Digital Strangelove (or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Internet)" by David Gillespie, an Account Director at Maclaren McCann, Toronto, is a good choice: a mesmerizing 256 slide manifesto on the Intention Economy with Data (as the bank) and Meaning (as the currency).