There is an old saying in the still young blogosphere industry. When the mainstream media jumps on a story it is already old news. Or it is the harbinger of a downturn soon to come? (Think Sports Illustrated cover curse.) Time Magazine has come out with their “Person of the Year” announcement and this year that person is YOU. That’s right. YOU. As a user who creates and consumes content on the many web services, (YouTube, Google, MySpace, etc…. the list goes on and on and grows everyday), you are supposedly changing the way information is disseminated. Here at GottaBeMobile and other tech specific sites we are in a small way a part of that, simply because we offer reviews in text and video (Inkshows) that come more from users than from a reporter who hasn’t really done anything with a device. Readers discuss these in the forums, and in my opinion, the companies that pay attention (they do read the forums and the coverage you know) are the ones that will ultimately succeed. Now that the revolution has been given Big Media sanction by virtue of Time’s announcement what does that mean? Will the revolution mean that we will no longer see everything handed down from above through corporate filters? Will all meaningful content bubble up from below? And speaking of bubbles, this is all tied to Web 2.0, which many fear is a bubble about to burst, but that’s another story.
I’d love to see the “user in control” revolution continue (it has been going on for some time, (see The ClueTrain Manifesto) but there is too much at stake and too much to lose for a lot of interests to let the users really be in control. The perfect example of this has to do with something that affects mobile users quite a bit. Broadband coverage. We’ve seen recent news about the next revision of EV-DO here in the states, and we get all excited. But we also see news of WiMax, WiBro, and other broadband coverages on other continents. Don’t think we don’t have the technology to move quicker in this country. We do. But it is a business decision that hits at the bottom line and shareholders pocket books. While yes, it takes companies time and money to roll out newer services on a wide scale, it also takes them time to break away from traditional revenue models that threaten to put the user more in control. He who owns the pipes is a bit worried when his can’t control the flow of info through the pipes. I’m reminded about how long it took cable television to be rolled out in Chicago simply because those who stood to profit couldn’t agree on how to slice up the pie.
In many ways, this is at the heart of the Net Neutrality debate that I personally wish more and more folks who partake of the wonders of the Internet would pay attention to. In my opinion, Time Magazine (interestingly owned by one of the biggest media conglomerates out there) has fired a warning shot, or maybe just acknowledged that they heard the starting pistol that went off some time ago.
Take a look at this video by Mark Sumocat Sumimto. While showing you his neighborhood, he tells you what he would have been able to accomplish he if had a Tablet PC growing up. There is no better advertisment anywhere about Tablet PCs and what they offer, in my opinion. OEMs should be jumping at the chance to put that on their site (and paying Sumocat a bundle for it.) Another good example from awhile back is Eric Mack’s children showing off what they do with OneNote. Priceless.
As more users continue to create, as more services open up shop in the cloud, the race really is to see if the current controlling interests can reign things in before critical mass is achieved and there is no going back. Some say we are already there. Whatever the case, YOU do play a crucial role as a mobile tech user, and I predict only that it is going to be an interesting next several years and that looking for anything resembling clarity will be like waiting for fog to clear.