The end of a year is a time for reflection and so it is that I find myself ruminating over the keyboard during this last week of 2010…
“We know what we are, but we know not what we may become”- William Shakespeare
I have no great words of wisdom or forecasts for 2011 except to note that the Gales of Change will continue to blow in 2011. At a minimum, we can expect further disruptions in the economy, government budgets, and the general well-being of society.
- It is more than likely that 2011 will not be a good year.
- We will be fortunate if it is no worse than 2010.
The above notwithstanding, I offer two futuristic observations on our digital communications media world in the coming year(s).
The almost relentless drive to digitize all forms of consumer media will accelerate in 2011
DVD’s and CD’s will be harder to find as they are replaced by downloads and on demand services. The pressure to buy e-books, to watch movies online, and to consume music by download will continue.
Large scale Sunday newspapers may soon disappear…
Eventually, everything will be available online–exclusively–for consumption on an electronic device…
- Digital downloads will generate a tremendous savings in resources previously dedicated to producing and distributing consumer books, recordings, magazines, newspapers, DVD movies, etc.
- Homes will no longer be cluttered with books, magazines, photo albums, and recordings. They will be available online and on demand…for a fee of course.
- Public & private libraries will no longer be necessary in an online digital world.
- Book stores, like the Dodo, will become extinct.
- Book signings will be replaced by Facebook entries & Twitter Tweets.
Eventually, all human generated content and information–writings, books, film, photos, government records, business records, personal records, and archives–will be stored in a central computer cloud…and accessed through a wireless umbilical cord.
Of course, there is one question…
Who will control the cloud?
To Tweet or not to Tweet–That is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Facebook fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of social media links*
Recently, I have been reflecting on two books (hard copy versions) that have stirred my little gray cells in the spirit of Agatha Christie’s Poirot.
They are interesting contradictions, these two books…
- The first is “Art & Fear” by Bales and Orland.
- The second is “Googled: The End of the World as We Know It” by Ken Auletta. **
Both can be read at several levels…
- The first deals with the tensions, dynamics, and strains of creating something in and for the “real” world.
- The second describes how the “real” world is being replaced by the Virtual Internet World—with its infinite array of marketing, news, and social media communication channels…the latter filled to the brim with a stew of 140 character texts, digital snapshots, video clips, and banal messages–a world where constant communication is more important than content or context. It is a world we have yet begun to understand as it changes our entire media landscape…and us. ***
In musing over the information and ideas presented in these books, I asked myself two questions for 2011…
Is it time to find a new route in the new Social Media?
Is it time to go back to the future and stay in the old rut?
After careful deliberation, my answer is…the old rut!
Simply put, I have no interest in contributing to the digital vapors of the new “social” media.
I find less and less reason to follow, much less take part in, a virtual world where people, for the most part, would rather commune with others on their mobile devices or computers instead of engaging in face to face encounters. I am well aware that this is the reality of the day and it is not going to change. I do wonder if this is not one of the reasons why some decry the increasing coarseness of, and rude behavior in, society…
Could it be that we are losing our ability to interact and communicate personally because it is so much easier to do it through a surrogate electronic device?
I have always tended to pick the “road less traveled” in the spirit of Robert Frost or to cheer the underdog in conflicts and see no reason to change now.
Therefore, I will continue working in the now out of date world of 300 to 800 word blog articles written and formatted as if they were set out on a real page with large scale photo prints. While read or seen by few in the Virtual World, as they are not suited for quick consumption on handheld screens, it is the course I elect to maintain. ****
Looking ahead to 2011, my plans are to continue posting articles from time to time on such topics that may come my way–usually by way of photographs made during the month.
- If you care to follow along in 2011, there is a free, easy e-mail subscription section in the right hand column on this page.
- The Photo Blog (Click Here) will also continue in 2011. As with this blog, the Photo Blog has a free subscription link if you care to follow my irregular photographic meanderings. The subscription link is at the bottom of the page
In closing, Happy New Year to one and all. It’s going to be a bumpy ride to an uncertain destination.
Strap on your seatbelt and……
*With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare!
**I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get a sense of the changes in our media world in terms of how they took place and what lies ahead. It is extremely well written and documented.
- ***This “virtual” article is the equivalent of five 8 1/2 by 11 pages set in size 11 Georgia font. It contains 1153 words, 6,524 characters with spaces, three full-sized photographs, five emoticons, and six notes. Obviously, it is hopelessly out of date by current Internet writing standards!
- ****As an alternative explanation for my decision, I borrow a few words from that great philosopher from Texas, Waylon Jennings: “I’ve always been crazy and the trouble that it’s put me through…I’ve always been different with one foot over the line…I’ve always been crazy but it’s kept me from going insane.”
For those not familiar with Petaluma, the first photo is a composite of two exposures of the Clock Tower at the corner of Western Ave and Petaluma Blvd.
The “tunnel” photo is a triple exposure of the inside of the Waldo Tunnel approach to the Golden Gate Bridge.
For larger views, click on each photo.