Final Blog

I feel that media and technology are impacting life and industries by demanding a much keener understanding of the technologies that consume our lives. We are constantly developing new software and technology, and as a result the companies that use those programs need people that can keep them up and running. This creates an interesting situation. It is creating a world where specialization becomes more important than overall knowledge. It seems like in the old days the more broad your education, the more opportunities you would ultimately find. But now, with innovations being so specific in their technology, companies need specially trained employees who have a focus on what that company requires. I also think that with media becoming such an integrated part of our lives, we must be careful how we approach and respond to what we see and hear. There have been a lot of scandals in the news in the past year and I think it is important to step back and really see what is going on. In this blog I will discuss some of the trends that are occurring in regards to technology and media. Hopefully it will spark some debate and get everyone thinking a little more on what they believe the future holds.

First off, the media world is merging rather drastically into the mobile world. I feel like people expected this to happen, for the most part. But what exactly does this mean for our generation and those to come? According to an article in small business trends, it means that we will be interacting more and more with mobile marketing. They provide statistics and facts about mobile phone usage from the year 2000 till now. And it is really quite amazing. The one that really blew me away was how “Over 130 Billion texts are sent each month, up from practically nothing in 2000.” This statement alone makes me wonder why mobile marketing hasn’t been implemented before. I guess it all had to do with the emergence of the smart phone. These devices have created an exceptional opportunity for marketers. It gave them the  ability to connect with their users, via their phone, over the internet. It seems like a great idea, maybe a little annoying at times, but it opens up a whole new career option for people interested in that stuff.

Speaking of careers, according to an article in the new york times there is an extremely high demand for people with experience and knowledge in  digital technologies. I feel like this means that we have reached a point where education as been outrun by technology. We can no longer learn as fast as we need to in order to keep up with the exponential growth rate of these new technologies. This seems to imply that specialization in these areas will emerge as we move further into the future. I don’t think that it will lead to the decline of the traditional college experience. But I do think that more “tech” schools will emerge as a way to train people on how to build and maintain these social technologies. These skills will be invaluable with the emergence of certain new technologies such as augmented reality.

What exactly is augmented reality? According to National Geographic, “this emerging technology superimposes computer-generated images on the real world, courtesy of a cell phone camera or special video glasses.” This would create a world where the possibilities truly are limitless. We would be able to have a constant stream of information floating around us. I can just imagine walking down the street in a completely unfamiliar city, with no worry of getting lost. I feel like AR would give people more confidence to explore the world around them. That is an interesting thought because there are people out there who view “technology” as the complete opposite of “nature”. But by augmenting your reality, you are fusing the two together to enhance the experience on all levels. And talk about an opportunity for mobile marketing! You could create ads that appear in the “digital space” that are uniquely tailored to each and every individual.

It seems as though that tailored experience is also evolving in other platforms. We have gotten to the point where creators have realized that it is inefficient to essentially spam people with their message and hope that the majority of the population will respond. They are realizing that it is wasteful and that they would get a better response if they narrowed the focus to find out what the individual viewer wants to experience. It is becoming more and more apparent with television. I feel like Jeffrey Hendrix hits the nail on the head in his video about the future of tv.

The Future of TV from Jeffrey Hendrix on Vimeo.

With all of these innovations in the world of video communication it was only a matter of time before they would find a way for you to give voice commands to your devices. Microsoft has recently added a feature, via an update for your xbox, so that you can give vocal commands to your game console. You can say “Xbox, change the channel to ESPN.” and it will change the channel for you automatically. This is quite a revolutionary idea. I remember about 7 years ago, a friend of mine was fiddling around with this program on his computer. I remember him saying “computer, open mozilla firefox.” and all of a sudden his internet browser opened. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought for sure he was playing some kind of prank on me, but I was wrong. He had just downloaded Siri, a voice command program that actually learns your voice over time. Granted, this was a while back when things were still a bit “glitchy”, but they have worked out the kinks and created a technology that will revolutionize the way we interact with our digital devices. This will also create an opportunity for employment. As these technologies become more mainstream, they will need more and more people to monitor their performance and keep them up to date.

Getting back to the idea of more target oriented television programming, we are beginning to see partnerships forming among some of the media giants. One example is the collaboration of Disney.com and YouTube. They are attempting to create a stronger web presence for Disney. I feel like this is somewhat of an attempt by Disney to “ride the coat tails” of the YouTube phenomenon. It seems this way because “Disney.com’s traffic has been dropping at an alarming rate. Unique visitors totaled 12.7 million in September, down from 17.9 million in June. This is an obvious sign that interest in the site is declining, so they needed to come up with something in order to get viewers interested in the site. Their answer: create a series of animated web shorts that will be featured on YouTube, along with a series of user generated content. I don’t want to sound narcissistic, but I don’t really see this saving Disney’s web presence. I mean, it might increase viewership, but I feel like they would have had more luck building a community around their own ideas.

So with all of these new technologies, whats going on in the big picture? Well it’s the idea of cross media interactivity. It’s creating a strong presence over multiple media outlets. According to an article on about.com, the future is in media that crosses the divide between tv, to internet, to your phone and etc. I feel that the coming years will give way to an explosion of opportunities in the field of interactivity in design. This is good news for me because I have dabbled in a little bit of everything. I may not know exactly how to create a television ad, but I for sure know that I have the resources at my disposal to learn how to do that. I think that’s what it’s really all about. We have gotten to the point in our lives where we no longer have to rely on person to person communication in order to learn. If you are truly interested in something, you have the means to find information and become an expert on the subject. And with all of the developments in augmented reality and mobile technologies, it will only become easier and more efficient.  I am excited to see what the future holds. And I hope that the knowledge that I have acquired during my time at Ball State will help me get involved with all of the exciting technologies that are emerging in the world of digital media.

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~ by soyouthinkyouknow on December 15, 2011.

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