Digital commentator Helen Baxter takes a look at the top digital trends for 2010, in this guest MsBehaviour File as part of The Big Idea's feature on Digital Culture.
"The technological advances of the past tended to benefit industry, but the revolution fostered by the Internet has brought changes and benefits to the creative community."
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One of the best things about 2010 is that it finally feels like we are living in the future. Kiwis have invented the personal jetpack, and sent a rocket into space from Great Mercury Island. The number of global internet users has doubled in the past five years, and almost a third of the world’s population is now online. Here are some of the most important current trends in the digital world.
The social media revolution was greeted with much scepticism, especially about the daily trivia that appears to dominate Facebook and Twitter. These technologies have since become instruments for powerful social and political change, and Twitter was invaluable for getting information out during the Christchurch earthquake.
According to Nationmaster, New Zealand ranks at number seven for internet use, and a Social Media Report from AC Nielsen shows that more than four out of five Kiwi users like to share photos and favourite links. An understanding of social media spaces is crucial to anyone looking to use them to promote their work.
Popular webcomic XKCD has recently published the Online Communities Map 2, with land mass representing the volume of daily social activity. If you compare it to the Online Communities Map published in 2007, you can see how different the social media landscape looks today and this strong growth is likely to continue.
Tablets & eReaders
The big tech news this year is the release of the iPad tablet computer with a multi-touch interface, and the rise in sales of eBook readers such as the Kobo and Kindle. I played with an iPad this week and really liked the DJ / VJ apps, and the Flipboard for reading newspapers & magazines.
As people do more of their reading on these devices, more opportunities open up for writers to reach an audience outside of the traditional print industry. It is now possible to self-publish your own eBooks on Amazon, or even real paper books with glossy covers using print-on-demand services like Blurb and Lulu.
The 3D printing revolution is spreading fast with more services such as Sculpteo and IMaterialise for designers to print their works. I recently bought a Shapeways materials sample kit, and am excited about printing designs in metals such as antique bronze and sterling silver. These companies are opening up a whole new realms of possibilities for designers everywhere to print anything they can imagine.
The freedom to share is one of the defining threads to these new trends. The Diigo link sharing group I set up in 2007 now has over a thousand members who have shared links to nearly three thousand Web 2.0 tools.
The use of Creative Commons (CC) licenses opens up an exciting new world of remixes and mash-ups, by creating a new model of copyright for a digital era. This evolution of the copyright concept is gaining in popularity as artists, educators and governments realise that sharing and open data benefits everybody in society.
If you want to join in the remix revolution then Mix and Mash will be running in November, a competition to show the world what you can do with New Zealand digital content and data.
The technological advances of the past tended to benefit industry, but the revolution fostered by the Internet has brought changes and benefits to the creative community. It has made creation and publication both cheaper and easier, cut out middlemen and empowered content creators everywhere to share their output with the world.
For a snapshot of the present and look into the future, Now and Next have published an incredible trends and technology timeline from 2010 to 2050, drawn in the style of a map of the underground.
It’s important to look ahead to anticipate where these ideas may take us, to keep our position at the front of this new renaissance.
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