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gazing into the crystal ball

Here's my prediction for 2011 Charlotte Hatherley.


The future is always rosy, isn't it? 12 hours or so PST left until 2011 and the predictions have been darkening my screen like a murder of crows.

In July, I saw this in an article from Brian Solis - Content Context is King. ( To which my friend Roy Christopher quipped “Context is king.” -royc. (c. l998). Tiresome…" but that's another story.)

Context may well be king but I thought that the strikeout through the word content rather neatly summed up the year in digital marketing for me. It was increasingly hard to avoid the pissy discussions about how there had to be an either/or scenario in which one idea just had to outmode the other. And how "new" agencies would be better than "traditional," and how "digital" was going to wipe the floor with us, and if you worked in a "traditional" agency you looked like zombies with hollowed out eyes and .. you get the picture. It was exhausting.

The most levelheaded response to the digital versus everything else flap that I saw was from W+K's Iain Tait. Anyone struggling with the white noise around digital vs traditional should watch this and listen carefully. As Iain points out, we are not post-digital as digital is nowhere near peaking, it's very much in its infancy. It's worth noting that the Bauhaus movement came about 500 years after the beginning of the Renaissance - things take time folks! So 2011 will be just another year - where we put our collective energy will be important.

Here's some thoughts from a few people I follow on the social web:

Rishad Tobaccowala - On Mobility: 2011 will be the year where the word “mobile “ is replaced by “mobility.” This expanded definition will include mobile phones, tablets and the increasing interconnectedness of devices, which allows for the mobility of content.
Fred Wilson - On mobile economics: I've been saying for a while now that I think mobile economics will trend toward web economics as the mobile web goes mainstream. In other words, the business models that work best on the web will ultimately work best in mobile.The corrolary to that is that the business models that don't work well on the web will not work well in mobile in the long run. And that includes Tablets.
Khoi Vinh - On David Hockney's iPad paintings: First, they imply an endorsement of the touch devices like the iPad as a tool for making art by a big (huge) name artist whose fame was forged in the pre-digital world. That credential matters to some people, because it demonstrates, however weakly, that this new and unfamiliar device is not just a passing fad.
Russell Davies - On Post-digital:
I had lunch with Iain the other day and he was telling me how annoyed he was by the term 'Post Digital'. Or perhaps, more specifically, by how some people are using it. And, I must admit, I've been getting more and more embarrased by it myself. Now, coining or promulgating a bit of jargon gives you no proprietary rights over it, I know that. It'll end up meaning whatever people want it to mean. But, just for the record, this is some of what I meant and what I didn't.

Engadget - On Skype video calling for iPhone: Skype's official iOS client has finally sprouted the ability to make video calls, allowing iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and fourth-generation iPod touch users to share real-time video amongst each other and users of Skype's Windows, Mac, and Linux clients along with the ASUS Videophone

Justin Spohn - On that Peter Merholz post: I’ve spent nearly my entire career working in agencies - an experience that I found dissatisfying enough that it drove me first to create this blog - largely devoted to critiquing agencies, and then to starting my own agency to address many of the very points Peter is making. But the thing is, when I read Peter’s post, I found myself going to my keyboard not to support him, but to call him a jerk.

As you'll note those extracts, although including discussions around digital marketing, are mainly about mobile. I used them because clearly we are going to keep seeing a huge uptick in what Rishad T terms Mobility. Digital thinkers will keep pushing boundaries but the mobile platforms are where the action will be, as Fred Wilson suggests. Yet, as the Virgin Magazine on the iPad disaster shows, developers and media companies have a long way to go in understanding some of the platforms. Oh, and BTW, "traditional" agencies will survive. 

Happy New Year! 

(An earlier version of this post appeared on NORTH)

New Years Eve op-art by jason logan

film - man in a blizzard by jamie stuart