The Andreessen Horowitz article highlights some of the most important trends in digital today. One of which is big data (Troung, 2015). Data has always been a part of online journalism, but it looks different today than it did even 20 years ago. The Internet is a great source for data, if you know where to look for it. The companies and organizations that can find and utilize this data will, I predict, be the most successful. The key to this success, though, is to make the data tell a story. We can see how effective this strategy when looking at BuzzFeed.
Another important trend for the Internet is mobile. Especially as Generation Z begins to come of age. Youth are getting cell phones much earlier (partly because they didn’t really exist in the same way when Millennials were growing up), but also because they are used to having technology at their fingertips (Levit, 2015).
Generation Z use mobile apps in a way that the other generations are just starting to figure out. They use apps to filter through information to determine what is pertinent or interesting to them without consuming every news story or social media happening in sight. As Finch states in his article, Gen Z makes up 25% of the U.S. population and will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020 (2015). If tech companies cannot keep up with the trends impacting this generation, they will lose out on profits.
This brings me to a related trend that is building the future of Web: online marketplaces (Truong, 2015). Online marketplaces are continuing to pop up on an almost daily basis and these new marketplaces are focusing on niche markets and social trends to attract their customers. Their innovation attracts consumers young and old, and for those companies that get on the online marketplace bandwagon, they should benefit by serving an ever-increasingly digital and mobile world.
A final issue that is important as the Internet becomes more integrated into our society is security (Truong, 2015). Security issues are much bigger than viral attacks on personal computers. As Weiss mentions, the treats are moving “to the cloud and mobile” (Truong, 2015, para. 10). As technology shifts platforms, security measures must too shift to ensure that information stays protected. This is a potentially new area of research for professionals in the field and an opportunity for companies to explore how they can provide better security measures for phones, tablets, and other mobile devices.
Digital technology changes at a rapid pace. Is it changing too fast? Some people say yes, some say no. Regardless of which side of the coin you’re on, digital tech is changing almost constantly. This article sums up how rapid changes in mobile are affecting marketing.
In a Wall Street Journal article from 2009, the author discusses how innovation is being transformed by technology (Brynjolfsson & Schrage, 2009). In reality, these changes in digital impact our society in more ways than just rolling out new mobile apps and the creation of niche social media sites. Digital impacts our workplaces, how we communicate, the news we consume, how we view healthcare, and even how we vote.
How our society will deal with this rapid digital change in the future is a bit of a mystery. Digital is changing almost faster than we can consume the modifications. But one thing I know for certain, ignoring the changes will not make them go away. Maintaining a “From Pencils to Pixels” attitude toward changes in digital will not do our society any favors. A few strategies I can think of to “keep up” with these changes are to: (1) Read the Technology articles in whatever news platform you use – these articles contain much more than biomedical advances that you don’t understand or tech jargon that you can’t process – they tell you what is happening in technology and how it will impact you as a citizen and a consumer; (2) Maintain professional contacts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter – you can learn a lot about changes in your field or just technology in general by connecting with people in similar professions as you, or even with people who have your dream job; (3) Don’t be afraid to try out what’s trending (and this is coming from someone who has never blogged or tweeted before this course) – by learning what is currently on top, you can see what your co-workers, students, classmates, or even kids are engaging with online.
There isn’t much our society can do to slow down these rapid technological changes, so I suggest not fighting the current and find a way to enjoy the ride. There’s a lot of ways to enjoy using new technology innovations, and they can go a long way to making our lives easier.
Throughout this session, I have learned a lot about the digital world; more than I could’ve imagined. The three suggestions I gave above are the top ‘take-away’ messages I got from this course. The most important of which, in my opinion, is number 3. I didn’t want to use Twitter, I got rankled hearing people talk in hashtags (although this part still hasn’t changed much), and I definitely didn’t think I had anything important enough to say that I should broadcast it in a blog. But I learned a lot about the digital world and myself through this process. I have set up my twitter to be much more than broadcasting what I had for lunch today. I have created another professional networking platform by following organizations and people who are influential in my field. Now, my twitter is a way for me to consume news that impacts my job as an educator. I now have a healthier respect for social media, and I understand better why my students use it and what they get out of it.
All that being said, for my final social platform, I chose to try out Snapchat. My youngest sibling and most of my staff and students use it, but I’ve never played around with it. I felt the need to know the draw of this platform and see if it is as interesting as they say. I tried just figuring it out on my own with directions from the app, but I became very confused, so I called in reinforcements…and by that, I mean I texted my sibling, B, for help. As I write this, I haven’t managed to figure everything out, but I’m working on it – I know enough to send photos. I think using Snapchat will be useful for me to stay connected with B since they are in Wisconsin (and still in high school), and I’m in Texas. I don’t think Snapchat will ever be a very professional social platform to use for communication, but it’s fun for recreational use.
I expected to be able to use Snapchat to take and send photos, and allow me to make modifications similar to the Instagram filters. This expectation it has met, although it took me a while to figure out if the photo actually sent, if I’m being completely honest. Thankfully, B (who is only 15), was able to help their 24 year old sister out. It was fun trying it out, even if it made me feel a little inept. I’ll have a lot more fun with it now that I’ve figured out how to use it (mostly). And B will be on standby for tech support while I play with it.