I sense that the sea of smart phones lit up at concerts is a temporary phenomenon. The integration of technology, sharing, and social into our physical world, on the other hand, well, that ain't going away.
I have done a pretty good job of partitioning my life digitally, posting utterances and stories that I'm happy to share with anyone on Twitter, leaving a few sparse comments and 'Likes' on Facebook (I'm not a huge user of the service, I'll be honest), and sending any number of photos to thousands of 'followers' on Instagram and Tumblr.
An elaborate system of etiquette and social standards flowered around the home phone: how long a child might be allowed to stay on the phone, how late one could call without being impolite, and of course, the dread implications of a late night call which violated that norm.
The open web is full of spam, shady operators, and blatant falsehoods. Outside of a relatively small percentage of high quality sites, most of the web is chock full of popup ads and other interruptive come-ons. It's nearly impossible to find signal in that noise, and the web is in danger of being overrun by all that crap.
Facebook's data trove is enviable, and its moves into nearly every aspect of our lives - from payment to media, will create even more of it. The company also has created a huge base of developers for its platform, but the ecosystem is incomplete compared to vertically integrated OSes like iOS, Mac or Windows.
The home phone is relatively cheap, incredibly reliable, and - if you buy the right phone - will work for years without replacement. Oh, and far as I can tell, a home phone won't give you brain cancer. In a perfect world, the hard line should have become a platform for building out an entire app ecosystem for the home. And yet... it didn't.
I'm quite certain the Windows 8 team is preparing to market IE 10 - and by extension, Windows 8 - as the safe, privacy-enhancing choice, capitalizing on Google's many government woes and consumers' overall unease with the search giant's power.
There's a reason publishers don't build on top of social platforms: publishers are an independent lot, and they naturally understand the value of owning your own domain. Publishers don't want to be beholden to the shifting sands of inscrutable platform policies.
There will soon be streams of data coming from all manner of products - appliances, clothing, sporting goods, you name it. Wouldn't you rather live in a world where you can export the data from your son's football helmet to a new app that monitors force and impact against a cohort of high school players around the country?
The experience that a publication creates for its audience is the very essence of that publication's brand - and without deep engagement, that publication's brand will be weak. A good publication is a convener and an arbiter - it expresses a core narrative that becomes a badge of sorts for its readership.
I like Diaspora because it's audacious, it's driven by passion, and it's very, very hard to do. After all, who in their right mind would set as a goal taking on Facebook? That's sort of like deciding to build a better search engine - very expensive, with a high likelihood of failure.
It seems everyone is converging on a simple set of facts: Our lives are digital, and we wish to share our lives. Pinterest came at it through images, artfully curated. Facebook came at it through friends, cunningly organized. Dropbox came to it via files, cleverly clouded.
I found the iPad to be too large and heavy to use comfortably in casual situations (like reading in bed, for example), and too limited to use as a replacement for my laptop. By comparison, the Nexus 7 is just the right size for use anywhere - it's very similar in size to my daughter's Kindle Fire, but lighter.
The Nexus 7 is about the same size as a Moleskine notebook, and it just 'feels' like the right form factor for doing all those things you want to do on a smart phone, but can't quite do in the right way. It's not too big, and not too small - just right.
In a world lit by data, street corners are painted with contextual information, automobiles can navigate autonomously, thermostats respond to patterns of activity, and retail outlets change as rapidly (and individually) as search results from Google.
Advertising and content have always been bound together - in print, on television, and on the web. Sure, you can skip the ad - just flip the page, or press 'ffwd' on your DVR. But great advertising, as I've long argued, adds value to the content ecosystem, and has as much a right to be in the conversation as does the publisher and the consumer.
We speak of 'software eating the world,' 'the Internet of Things,' and we massify 'data' by declaring it 'Big.' But these concepts remain for the most part abstract. It's hard for many of us to grasp the impact of digital technology on the 'real world' of things like rocks, homes, cars, and trees. We lack a metaphor that hits home.
I find web browsing, checking multiple email accounts, and Google mapping rather tiresome on an iPhone - the iPhone's native interface, for all its supposed perfection, has all kinds of wrong baked in - and the screen is just far too small.
Given the trendlines of digital publishing, where more and more large platforms are profiting from, and controlling, the works of individuals, I can't stress enough: Put your taproot in the independent web. Use the platforms for free distribution (they're using you for free content, after all). And make sure you link back to your own domain.
Drones ply the liminal space between the physical and the digital - pilots fly them, but aren't in them. They are versatile and fascinating objects - the things they can do range from the mundane (aerial photography) to the spectacular - killing people, for example.
When good media takes a bounded form, and comes once in a period of time, it begs to be consumed as a whole - it creates an engaging experience. We don't dip in and out of an episode of 'Game of Thrones,' after all - we take it in as a whole. Why have we abandoned this concept when it comes to publications, simply because they exist online?
Google likely never cared if Google+ 'won' as a competitor to Facebook (though if it did, that would have been a nice bonus). All that mattered, in the end, was whether Plus became the connective tissue between all of Google's formerly scattered services. And in a few short years, it's fair to say it has.
'Dependent web' platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google and Yahoo are where people go to discover and share new content. Independent sites are the millions of blogs, community and service sites where passionate individuals 'hang out' with like-minded folks. This is where shared content is often created.
The truth is, truly passionate media creators don't get into the media business to make huge gains from spectacular unicorn exits. When it happens, we certainly all cheer (and perhaps secretly hope it happens to us). But the fact is, we make media because we don't know what else to do with ourselves. It's how we're wired, so to speak.
Ideally, content should be shared, mixed, mashed, and reposted - it wants to flow through the Internet like water. This was the point of RSS, after all - a technology that has actually been declared dead more often than the lowly display banner.
Google Now is one of those products that to many users doesn't seem like a product at all. It is instead the experience one has when you use the Google Search application on your Android or iPhone device (it's consistently a top free app on the iTunes charts). You probably know it as Google search, but it's far, far more than that.
Just as like the music industry still wishes for the days when it controlled its own production and distribution, the media and marketing world still yearns for the silver bullet of the thirty-second spot on 'Seinfeld,' even as it knows those days are over.
In conversation marketing, you're providing a service, a continuing dialogue whose course through the Web is unknown. The more value it adds to the ecosystem, the more it will be shared, amplified and celebrated.