Friday, December 3, 2010

Predicting the On-line Future

The internet and on-line world interests me because it promises to solve one of my life’s big problems.  I need to be far more productive. I often dream of how much more I could do in a given day if everything I do takes less time, I could perform multiple tasks simultaneously, and have all possible information at my fingertips.  If only I could speed up the rate of everything exponentially, I would be more productive (and therefore more successful and happy). There is an obvious problem with this logic, but let’s imagine this for now.  If I were to use this single criteria of solving my personal productivity issues to examine the on-line world, I could pretty accurately predict the following: 
  1. On-line shopping will grow because it really does take less time to comparison shop on-line rather than in a physical mall.
  2. Job hunting will move completely to the internet.  Job “surfing” will replace job hunting.
  3. Social networking sites will replace email and most phone use and will evolve generationally.  For me, they can be very noisy, but younger people live within them and collect and maintain relationships.  I realize I still mostly want to talk with the people with whom I used to talk with before social sites were born. 
    1. Personal branding and networking sites will grow. Networking is hard to do, and the internet can really help.  The platforms, however, need to evolve as the millions of folks coming into the LinkedIn world start to find it difficult to really stand out, get noticed and end up interrupting everyone’s day with random posts and comments.
    2. On-line Collaboration, as a work tool, will take off.  Project collaboration, flexible work schedules and connecting to people around the world is an underused aspect of on-line.  This could change the way we work.
    3. Search will continue to grow but mostly as a tool for comparison shopping.  Some will discover that they do want to learn more about things, but that will probably migrate back to the student homework level.
    4. Television, movies, music, and books will all move to the internet – this saves me time because of portability and instant access.
    5. The human interface for on-line will evolve away from the lap- or desktop to portable handheld, then to 3 dimensional, holographic and experiential, which will dial up the gaming aspect hugely.
    Which all brings me back to my opening statement - do more, be more happy.  As I further immerse myself in this internet world – I realize I have spent inordinate amounts of time online on my laptop at the expense of human interaction with colleagues and loved ones  (I should exercise more too, btw). 
    Social experience will soon become the new thing and crowd out internet usage. A weekend with your friends, hiking, will be the new “cool” and replace a weekend of blogging.  The internet still fights me here and ultimately will lose its grip on my time.  That’s my final prediction.

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