Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, October 5, 2004

RSS NewsMastering - The Impact of Ten Years, Ten Trends

On September 23, 2004 The Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future released its study "Ten Years, Ten Trends" outlining a decade of trends it's identified since it started studying online behavior.

"After a decade of observing the evolution of the Internet, and four years of our formal studies of online technology, we are seeing clear trends in how the Internet has changed the United States,"
said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future.

"Our annual projects explore more than 100 major issues concerning online behavior," said Cole. "Of these findings, ten broad trends have emerged that have particular relevance as we reach the 10-year anniversary of the opening of the Internet to the public: Ten Years, Ten Trends."

A summary of those ten trends is available here. Although all ten findings are fascinating in themselves, there are four that should be of particular interest to independent publishers, newsmasters and communications agents.

One of the observed trends demonstrates how events and rapid technology development can make such findings quickly obsolete, and three (more sustainable, long-term) trends reinforce what are the major forces driving information consumers away from the traditional media and towards authoritative, independent and ethically motivated sources of news, research and analysis.

1. Established Media And Government Sources
Year Four of the Digital Future Report shows that most users trust information on the websites they visit regularly, and on pages created by established media and the government. The information that users don't trust is on Web sites posted by individuals.

The enormous and ever-growing popularity of independently published commentary and analysis on expert blogsites, especially in relation to coverage of the war in Iraq, and the run up to the US Presidential election, would indicate a new appetite that is not being satiated by "established media and the government"

2. The Internet Has Become The Number One Source For Information For Internet Users
The Internet has become the most important source of current information for users - the primary place they go for research, general information, hobbies, entertainment listings, travel, health, and investments. The 'always-on' function of broadband has accelerated this importance.

"When one can turn to the computer in the kitchen to instantly access movie schedules from a bookmarked location, what does that say about the functionality - or even the need - for the entertainment sections of the local traditional media?"
Cole said.

This Trend goes somewhat against that identified in 1. above.

As Internet experience increases, perceptions of the importance of the Internet as an information source also increase. Eventually, almost every American will be an experienced user. How will that change the perception of the Internet as an information source? And how will that ascendancy affect other sources of information?

3. Email Is Becoming An Irritation
"E-mail is certainly a great convenience, but it is also a great irritation," Cole said. "What user today doesn't voice some concern about e-mail - spam, inbox overload, time commitments required to respond - in addition to its benefits? No Internet user wants to get rid of their e-mail, but they are tired of e-mail defining their lives."

As email 'attentiveness' declines, the opportunities to provide information consumers with the ability to 'subscribe' to feeds that are of specific interest to them at any given time will increase.

4. Broadband Will Change Everything

Broadband is changing entirely our relationship with the Internet at home - how often we go online, how long we stay online, and what we do online. Simply, modem use is disruptive; broadband use is integrative.

Always-on broadband access, combined with wireless, is resulting in the creation of a vast range of new products, services and applications for information consumers - once again providing unlimited opportunities for authoritative and respected independent content creators who are readily adopting the new platform, channel and format agnostic publishing technologies.

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posted by on Tuesday, October 5 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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