Most of our digital behaviors are extensions of our analog behaviors, somehow supplemented, augmented or made better by their new digital iterations. We as an industry are heading down a new road and the only map we have is years is nearly a century old. So how do I get from point a - today - to point b - tomorrow... before we arrive there? If I learned anything from Back To The Future 2 it was that knowing the future is a profitable business. So let's break this down.
What we're really asking is - to what extent does digital media create new behaviors? How has the digital evolution gradually become a revolution? Our roads have been rerouted and redirected so many times that our maps are oftentimes obsolete, yet we haven't undergone too many major overnight changes.
What started as digital mail (email) became file sharing and ultimately P2P-Torrent-like digital asset distribution- ultimately changing the way we view, store, access and interact with media as a whole. The gradual evolutionary steps we have undergone as a society - when viewed through the lens of a decade of progress - have become a virtual revolution in our social and behavioral ecosystems.
So bottom line: we're all in this field as consumers, professionals and/or hobbyists - how does anyone know where we're going to be 5 miles down the road?
Firstly, I would suggest that we cannot forget the lessons we have learned as a market over the past 80 years, nor can we afford to ignore that which has not yet been discovered - or was previously rejected. Nothing is irrelevant. iTV may have failed 8 years ago, but I may become huge in the coming years. Print media may be undergoing a fundamental shift, but with new technologies (like e-ink) we may see it rise in the digital domain once again as a growing media. The continuous shift the digital marketplace has seen and will continue to witness over the coming decades will continue to open new doors without closing all existing ones.
Someone recently asked me, why would you blog if you could sell your ideas for money? Firstly, I'm not convinced that I'm that smart or insightful. Secondly, I don't believe that any one person (Godin included!) has all the answers. The best we can hope to do is to read, to write, to discuss and to contribute, to create a new information and marketing ecosystem - together.
In 10 years from now, college professors and mainstream media outlets will be looking back at "predictive" blog posts from today and estimating the extent to which we were correct in our analysis and predictions. What will they say about you?
Perhaps the greatest creative outlet generated by new/digital media is not the content itself, but the nature of the ecosystem in which the content resides. There is conversation. There is expression. There is emotion. And perhaps more importantly, everything is documented and recorded for all posterity.
This post will still be here in a week, in a month, in a year, in a decade. And I'm sure we'll all have great fun looking back out our "pre-historic" thinking and have a good chuckle at ourselves.
So do us all a favor, and read before you write. Comment without fear that you will be viewed as a newbie, the conversation is how we all learn! And once you have a feel for what this whole social media thing is about... WRITE!
Leave your mark. Be part of the conversation. Become part of tomorrow's thought leadership today.