If you are interested in finding out what I think 2010 and beyond have in store for you, when it comes to new media, communication, marketing, learning, collaboration and new technologies, you have landed in the right place. This is Part 2 of MasterNewMedia yearly report on new media trends and anticipations for the new year.
Photo credit: Robin Good
In this second part I am covering:
Here is Part 2 (here Part 1):
by Robin Good
Pete Cashmore of Mashable wrote a few days ago that 2010 is going to be the year of distraction and, as Steve Rubel writes in his Posterous lifestream "...the deluge of information is only going to increase, which is going to make reaching people harder than ever.
Mark Evans recommends focusing on quality not quantity..."
"...we increasingly discover online content not just by algorithm but via the "lens of friends."
Who is going to make sense of it all?
Content curators! I say.
Curation is one of the most powerful trends emerging out of the ongoing collapse of the traditional news gathering and distribution system. There is so much information out there! ...and it keeps increasing.
I have been suggesting this trend for over five years now, by bringing up my idea of newsradars, and newsmastering which were based on the first deluge of information I saw coming when RSS started to become more popular.
But now information and content are exploding across all formats and media. Not just inside RSS feeds. This is why I am happily embracing Rohit Bhargava's term of Content Curation and Content Curators as the better terms with which to refer to this powerful, emerging trend.
A Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.
The most important component of this job is the word "continually." In the real time world of the Internet, this is critical. If you look at how many individuals are currently using their Twitter account to highlight interesting bits of content they locate or how del.icio.us users have tagged and shared content on that site for years, you'll understand that this idea has been steadily growing in an organic fashion.
Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating within a certain space, niche, theme, topic, viewpoint.
The content curator is someone who dedicates himself to find the best and most relevant content on a topic and to bring it forward for others to find.
The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content as well as valuable compilations of content created by others.
In time, these curators will bring more usefulness and order to the social web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers - creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand-generated marketing messages.
And though Google knows by definition this to be the "it", the ultimate value of the information game: organized information of immediate value to a specific group of people, Google can't do it all by itself.
As a matter of fact, Google launched just a bit more than a year ago Google Knol, a Google-branded version of Wikipedia. But it failed at it from a marketing standpoint, as people didn't trust Google enough to elect it as the trusted keeper of their collective knowledge.
In fact, in my view, Google should have provided simply the tools to enable more people to become skilled content curators, via Google tools yes, but not directly inside Google content servers.
So, instead of keep on asking what content is best to create next, or how to invent yet another tool to create more splashy new content formats, wouldn't it be much wiser to look at HOW to organize and make the existing enormous amounts of content (yours and others) useful and accessible by more and more people?
If Google is such a visionary company why don't you read again what their mission says: "Organizing the world's information".
Isn't that what a Content Curator does in ways that can complement and extend Google's basic organization work done via its search engine?
Or can Google do it alone?
I think, that at least for now, curating content is the one thing that Google can't take your place in doing.
When it comes to researching, selecting, picking, editing, juxtaposing, illustrating, complementing, referencing, crediting, commenting and introducing, Google can just pack its stuff and go home.
That's where you need to look!
Unless there is a growing number of active newsmasters, content curators and editors/publishers checking, digesting, filtering, grouping and organizing information inside vertical information silos you will be either submerged by information or you will be left behind when it comes to staying on top of the information you need to operate in your field.
Business-wise, content curators could also offer an interesting marketing opportunity and a new business model that makes a lot of sense to me:
"...could a solution be that brands attach their name to relevant content curators?
Good curators save me time, which is 'added value' to me. And that should be one of the main things brands are looking for."
Last but not least, content curation may also likely provide one of the solutions to the future of online newspapers, who seem to be yet quite clueless about their future opportunity to remain sustainable information providers.
A complementary new emergent powerful trend taking form in the world of collaborative communication and knowledge creation is the one of "social curation", which appears to me as being a distributed, bottom-up and reversed form of crowdsourcing. Independent individuals collaboratively contribute to edit, refine and compile valuable information resources.
Prime examples of this trend are: Wikipedia, the collaborative mindmap I have built over at MindMeister, and a newly launched service called Pearltrees. Here is an introductory video to this new tool, which I think does an excellent job at introducing social curation and what it is all about. Check it out:
In 2010, online collaboration needs to be redefined as:
"the ability to make it possible for individuals, engaged in collaborative teamwork with distributed collaborators, customers, and suppliers, to work seamlessly together as if they were all in the same place, while guaranteeing full continuity between plans, assignments and activities as these people link up from different connection devices and continuously move from and to different physical locations."
This is where we are headed.
And this is where I think you will see some interesting new unexpected things become available in the near future.
Imagine the opportunity to participate in a meeting session as you move from home to work or as you are traveling between cities by train or flight. Imagine of having the ability to scale up your meeting to show you all of the videos of the participants and the screens being shared or to have the option to scale down to audio-only or automatic text transcription-translation mode.
This is the direction in which the leading companies in the conferencing and collaboration space will try to gain some additional competitive advantage.
On the other hand most other companies will need to improve and refine on their existing tools, which, outside of a very few exceptions, still remain generally clunky, hard to use, uncollaborative to those running them and often slow. There is a huge space of improvement for all of the existing players in this space to do a much better job than what they have done so far.
Features are good, but ease of use and accessibility are yet limiting issues in adoption and better use of these collaboration tools.
I also see collaboration tools further moving into contextual mode, by providing tools and extensions which allow to scale up any document or app to collaborative mode and to fire up selectively the type of components and utilities needed without the need to open up a fully-fledged separate environment in which to do all this.
In 2010 the ideal collaboration - conferencing spaces need to integrate at least a few of these features:
A significantly underestimated competitive advantage area which remains open for grabs is the one of Live Annotation and Markup which would greatly benefit users in need to communicate more effectively during their showcases.
Other areas where there is strong need for new competitors and better offerings are:
Conferencing and Presentation Platforms for Live Seminars with Large Audiences - too few tools available to do this - prices yet too high - several limitations in what can be done with existing tools
Recording Tools - too few conferencing tools offering reliable and customizable (I want to select what to record - chat, video, audio, whiteboard, etc.) recording tools, which can output standard downloadable file formats and not rigid recording tools that operate only within the tool utilized. Event recordings should also be easily re-distributable online, via standard embeddable widgets and players.
HD Videoconferencing. High definition video conferencing is definitely an area in which we will see announcements throughout the year and a great opportunity for existing providers to leverage a Freemium model which allows SD videoconferencing among 2-3 people for free and requires a premium monthly fee for those wanting higher video and audio quality and the ability of recording.
Strong Integration with Social Media and Event Promotion Technologies. Conferencing tools will start to offer ways to promote and organize events, including signing-up, registering, paying for and providing feedback by leveraging effective integration with major social media and event organization platforms.
Live Conferencing and Collaboration Within Social Media Platforms. Also coming in 2010 is the appearance of the first web conferencing and real-time collaboration tools INSIDE social media platforms like Facebook.
Visual Mindmapping. Mindmapping will be integrated within some leading conferencing and collaboration platforms as an evolved form of whiteboard.
In 2010 traditional events will start undergoing some big changes and transformations. Traditional conferences and most events, in their present "format" are doomed to disappear in a few years time.
People are tired of the broadcast style, boring and badly prepared presentations, where the presenter is a slaved of the slides and their text. Conference attendees enjoy more the social networking taking place in the allies and during the breaks than the keynote given by another big company CEO.
Events participants can't stand anymore to be chained to their chairs without having the opportunity to participate, contribute, ask, and share with others inside and outside the event.
Live conferences in 2010 will start to be a meeting place for people to brainstorm, learn from each other and think up new opportunities, partnerships and ideas. Not a venue to for outdated forms of communication that cut off the opportunities for exchange, conversation and dialogue.
This is why in 2010, and beyond, events are going to see some major transformations. Ideas and formats borrowed and copied from other emerging event types such as barcamps, worldcafe and other types of unconferences will contaminate deeply the events industry which will start focusing more on the "experience" rather than on the "big names".
Social media technologies will play a big role in this, as events will rapidly see as a basic requirement the integration of back-channels, the provision of digital facilities for participants to learn and contact each other easily, as well as the adoption of social media tools that allow the easy sharing, remixing and publishing of the huge amount of interesting content emerging and captured by the participants during the event.
Starting in 2010 a few major tech events and media conferences will be the first to move into the X-events arena, by extending their physical events in the online world, so that they can be started much earlier than the event physical date, and can then continue to engage and expand the event community toward the next physical event in a continuous cycle.
Online before-the-event activities will include voting and crowdsourced selection of speakers and presenters, preview and selection of presentation materials, brainstorming about social networking activities to be done at the event, allowing participants, sponsors and partners to effectively collaborate in making the conference an event they feel they have truly participated in creating.
From a business standpoint these participatory event additions may also allow event organizers to find a new way "to provide sponsors and exhibitors with a new place to make relationships".
Video archives of previous events can also work as great marketing material as well as valuable content to spin off new discussions and conversations.
After an event is over, discussion groups and small communities which have formed around conference topics or presentations can continue their interactions and expand it in the direction of proposing something even more interesting and captivating for the next event. Speakers and presenters can extend their presentations and respond to community questions and requests. Organizers and sponsors can start offering great value by creating curated collections of content, both free and premium to offer to event fans.
But the key emerging trend is about the convergence between social media and the organization, planning, design and participation in conferences and events. Social media are really going to be a godsend for the future of events as they will allow new forms of event organization, planning, co-creation and co-production we hadn't dreamed of until a few months ago.
This is such a vast area it is really difficult to see the whole picture at once, but here is what I do see from my own little corner.
More and more people are going to be learning online and more people are going to learn and become skilled at what they are interested in without going through a traditional, certification-based academic curriculum. The new learners learn their skills by researching and studying them on their own, while exposing themselves to opportunities to exercise and practice them with more experienced and respected mentors.
In support of empowering the growing army of independent guides and coaches that provide learning opportunities of some kind, an increasing number of new platforms will appear online, that will further facilitate the creation of effective learning environments online. The e-learning platforms of yesterday, stand to these new emerging learning platforms as PowerPoint slide stands to a video clip.
These new learning platforms will allow individuals, without a technical background, to create a learning curriculum on any specific topic while easily integrating images, audio and video as well as the opportunity to deliver live real-time classes, seminars and workshops. Their cost will be negligible as they will be provided as services utilizing an ad-supported or freemium business model.
Cutting-edge educational institutions will continue follow in openly sharing and publishing their valuable classes and teaching resources to keep their brand visible and desirable to those seeking a paid certification.
The unique know-how and knowledge of the greatest teachers will be increasingly accessible online, for free, pushing all such institutions into the need to deeply rethink their role and future strategy.
A positive trend in 2010 will the one where not just a small number of academic institutions starts pushing for a move to electronic and digital textbooks, but a few governments start to officially back up this inevitable trend.
In 2010 almost no institution will yet be offering a new media literacy program, which is one of the most needed knowledge areas to be cultivated to help young people understand and become fully aware of both the potential and dangers of digital media. But 2010 will be the year in which many such institutions will seriously start thinking about offering such programs, as independent experts and professionals will start offering such courses themselves.
As Howard Rheingold correctly points out the real issue is not between those who have access to technology and those who do not, but between those who know and understand how to use new media technologies and those who don't:
If you still have doubts about whether ebooks are going to be in your future, 2010 will wipe them away.
eBooks are moving in big time this year, as big brands (Apple is first on this list) are about to announce some pretty revolutionary new technologies on this front. Whether or not all of these will be blockbusters, fact is that all major book publishers are now on this train and with Amazon breathing on their necks, they all better come up with something better and more effective than the Kindle.
Both the hardware technology which in 2010 will integrate color and multimedia playback on the new generation of ebook devices as well as the user interface, will greatly improve, and will start to provide a much better idea of how effective and useful these devices can really be.
Among the interesting new ebook technologies is the software-only Blio-reader which may empower book publishers and small authors to embrace its uniquely effectively multimedia capabilities and easy-to-use interface.
Prices for ebooks readers will go down drastically and it is likely that Amazon will finally adopt the ePub format for its publications.
P2P remains in my view a hot, highly disruptive front, in which we may likely see new innovation and useful tools.
Research initiatives from software giants like Adobe Stratus, which allows P2P direct interaction among Flash users, also indicate that P2P may have a future that is much more important and far-reaching than the secondary role generally assigned to this technology.
One of the hottest development areas for P2P remains television, where the opportunity for huge savings in terms of broadcast technology and the advantage of being able to monitor and track with precision use and distribution of content offers broadcasters compelling reasons to look at P2P as seriously as possible as soon as possible.
Once P2P protocols have been integrated in your browser, media player or even inside your operating system, you may start to see some truly innovative applications come to life.
On the "futuristic" front, this next one remains pretty far-fetched, but it is definitely a technology innovation I still expect to take greater shape in the coming years. I am referring to P2P technologies that would allow the creation a parallel-Internet independent user-driven network. This would entail the ability for individuals to create and access an independent peer-to-peer server-less network accessible by any user of a "network" device without resorting to Internet-based services.
Some initial ideas of why such an alternative network would be useful and how we could work out its design have been already expressed in these two articles:
1) Martien van Steenbergen - Extending the Internet: The Peernet OpenMesh
Furthermore P2P carries with itself a whole philosophy, of interaction, participation and collaboration that, just like with social media, mines at the roots the old ways of doing this from the broadcast-industrial era.
Peer to peer is an opportunity to truly innovate how we live by incorporating new approaches to work, trade, economy and currency that could provide us with a more sustainable and peaceful future. If you are interested in discovering more about P2P as a life philosophy, please check out the P2P Manifesto.
Visual communication remains a very florid area for innovation and there is an overwhelming demand for tools and resources that allow individuals to communicate their ideas more effectively.
These include both tools as well as the know-how and principles to use them effectively.
Most people are tired of seeing the traditional PowerPoint presentation, and expect presenters to upgrade their skills to make their visual presentations a true enhancing complement, instead of being a crutch for remembering what to say next. People want to read through data, see examples and stories explained. they are endlessly in search to understand better what escapes them in their daily routines.
This is why I think you are going to see some more innovative tools make their debut in this space during 2010. The traits that will characterize these new visual communications tools are going to be their ability to further simplify the process of bringing together audio-visual resources by providing access to third-party libraries and by integrating effective and professionally-designed templates like iMovie and iDVD have been doing for years now.
Visual solutions are going to be also the meat of some new innovative features that will appear inside search, analytics and usability tools for web publishers. The ability to understand and make sense of large quantities of data at a glance will remain in fact a key growing sector for a long time to come.
2010 will see new multimedia formats for presentation being offered on the web, such as the ability to showcase and sync together easily video and presentation materials, the ability to customize presentation widgets that incorporate custom information panels just like you want them to: one for links, one to get feedback from viewers, one with visual materials, etc. All of these can be synchronized and made to do what you want when you want, while being embeddable and shareable with others through blogs and social media.
Here's one interesting example:
In general audio-visual communication will become more personal, allowing more individuals to create compelling visual content by using tools that will be mostly free and increasingly easy to use.
Mobile is going to be an increasingly growing platform for web publishers, on which it becomes a necessity, to be present.
So, if you have a web site, make it your goal for this year to put in place a mobile publishing strategy, allowing people using their mobiles to take advantage of some of the unique features or content you make available online.
If you, like me have postponed this duty until now, make it a commitment to re-evaluate your options on this front and to start moving a few foundational steps in this direction as well.
Mobile use will continue to grow and Google, Apple and Nokia will be the key players in this market during 2010. Expect their mobile offerings to become increasingly appealing, with Google and Nokia pushing down prices and trying to innovate over the iPhone unique peculiarities.
One disruptive mobile phone feature in 2010 will be portable cell-phone-integrated tiny projectors, who are likely going to be hot geek presents for Christmas 2010.
"...For example, there’s the Optoma Pico Projector, coming soon from AT&T. The few lucky gadget gurus who’ve had a chance to bring one to a party all report the same thing: The Pico Projector drives people wild. Never mind how many pixels it does or doesn’t have. Lighting up the nearest wall with a video clip projected from your phone will make your friends forget about their touchscreens."
Just like advertising, television, in 2010 and beyond, will be increasingly less dominant. The availability of so many more sources of digital information and entertainment will further push down the use and time the general public will devote to traditional television programming.
Another new emerging trend is that television will be increasingly watched on much smaller, portable screens, as well as, at the other extreme, on very large plasma-like displays which are becoming increasingly big and affordable. Obviously, for the publisher, these are transformations that take into serious consideration.
I also expect much fewer television channels to survive as shrinking budgets, limited advertising opportunities, and a fiery competition make it difficult for most of these to remain sustainable while keeping their traditional business models.
HD, or high-definition video will be the standard in 2010, and video sharing sites and services will be measured in reference to it.
In 2010 people who enjoy producing video will flock to buy new hardware PCs because HD video does really require some processing power and unless you have a very recent and powerful machine, you risk on remaining very disappointed by how your HD video will perform on your computer. Most people do not realize this and some of them are already waking up to some disappointing surprises as they are testing out their first HD recordings done with the new camcorder found under the Xmas tree.
HD camcorders will increase in quality and will further drop in price. In 2010 you will have a problem selecting from a full line up of consumer camcorders offering all kinds of possible whistle and bells, ranging from $150 to $500 and more. The trend is clearly towards SD-memory based camcorders, with hard disk solutions gradually giving way to their solid state counterparts, as the prices of these rapidly drop. Likely new features to show up in 2010 are: direct WiFi connection and live streaming from the camcorder, automatic photo shots taken during each video, slow motion and time-lapse features, and yes, wearable camcorders will make also their debut this year.
Live video streaming solutions like Ustream, Livestream and others, will continue to innovate while introducing new features and software tools to further empower the small, independent video publisher. Premium access prices will come down and there will be additional options to monetize and pay for your video streaming infrastructure.
People will be happy to pay for premium video content, as long as the price is right and usability, video quality and access are top level.
In 2010 we will see the announcement of new powerful tools to further enhance the video experience, by allowing richer interactions, the ability to easily preview the most interesting parts of a video, and offering higher quality and more customizable video publishing players which can integrated complementary content or services/tools.
Video search and the related indexing of audio content will also see their official debut in 2010 on YouTube.
2010 is the year of usability and testing. Never before, so many effective tools and services have been available to web publishers to test, analyze and iteratively improve the effectiveness of their communication and marketing strategies.
In the arc of about two years, the field of usability testing has seen an explosion in the number of tools and services that have become accessible to the large public. Their number is really staggering and it keeps growing monthly.
These new tools provide a great array of resources to test just about anything, from the effectiveness of a new home page design to the best positioning of an "order" button to the detailed review of user behavior and actions when in front of a given web page.
If you have not yet started spending systematic time in testing your site margins of improvement, 2010 is the year in which to do so. The return on investment on such usability testing activities is usually very high, as they often provide the means to spot and identify easy to fix issues that may be the cause of significant losses of readers, sales or advertising returns.
Read less reports and start testing more shall be my recommendation to my web publishing students in 2010.
Music on tap is increasingly what I see is coming. By looking at my own spontaneous new patterns in the way I search, listen and play music during my normal days, I see that while I am not buying CDs since the longest time, I have happily paid in the recent past for services like Pandora (not available anymore in Europe) which offered me as much as I wanted at a fixed, low flat price rate.
More streaming, less downloading. I am not downloading in fact any music outside of a few very selected music podcasts that provide me with continuos all-mixed playback time with no interruptions. For the majority of time I get my music through Blip.fm, Songza or through one of my favorites iTunes radio stations (like the great set of stations at Soma.fm), which are all nearly ads-free.
I look forward to see great new music distribution services like Pandora and Spotify to find more smart competitors to emerge in 2010, while I expect them to be able to expand their international coverage to a lot more countries (Pandora is available in the US only and Spotify is presently available only in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain) and possibly to the whole world.
There is a good chance that one of my favorite services, mixtape editors, will see some new interesting announcement during 2010. This is a huge untapped opportunity that can provide great opportunity for creating highly passionate and vertical communities of fans that spontaneously put together great compilations while giving opportunity to new, independent bands to emerge and to be appreciated. Mixwit was my favorite (until they were forced to close down) and I expect a new service supported by the recording indutry to surface sometime soon.
Here is my recent interview with Gerd Leonhard, author of the Future of Music, which captures quite well what I think is happening next in the world of music:
End of Part 2 - - Part 1 here
Originally written by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia and first published on January 8th, 2010 as "MasterNewMedia Trends And Predictions For 2010 And Beyond - Part 2".
Making Sense of It All: Content Curation - Michaela Stejskalová
Social Curation - Artanika
Online Collaboration and Web Conferencing - Stephen Coburn
Events - Pavel Losevsky
Learning Online and Education - Nikolai Sorokin
eBooks - ClaudioB
P2P - Peer to Peer - MacXever
Visual Communication - drafis
Mobile - tupikov
Video Publishing - Internet Television - Brian Weed
Usability Testing - alexaranda
Online Music - franckito
Originally written by Robin Good and first published on MasterNewMedia.Robin Good -