Archive for June, 2011
Building upon our last post, I wanted to further expand the conversation re: the future of web content and the trends that will get us there.
I recently read that there will be 30 Billion smart devices in the year 2030. Yes, Billion with a “B”. This is a staggering number, which equates to an average of 7 devices per person. By then we will be living in what I (and others) have called the Age of Ubiquitous Internet – a time when individuals are constantly “plugged in” to the web via one device or another, no matter the situation, usually via multiple ones.
In fact, this is already becoming a reality for many. With iPads and other tablet computers, smart phones, Internet TV and gaming systems, and of course home computers and laptops, etc. there are lots of individuals who spend the vast majority of their day online. Ubiquitous Internet takes it one step further. Imagine an entire platform devices interconnected, all with access to the same data. At this stage, all data will be available to you in the “cloud”, making for seamless transition between one device and another. The cloud makes this all possible, since you don’t need much (or any) computing power within the device itself, other than some basic processor and memory to keep the device powered and connected, though stand-alone memory will probably still be an option.
The cloud will contain all the computing power that you will ever need, allowing devices to shrink even further in size. Think of having a large monitor on your desktop, with nothing else but the keyboard and mouse. Backup of your data and files will be automatic.
What does web content look like in this world? Probably different than it does now, though exactly how remains to be seen. One thing is sure – your website must be able to connect to all sorts of devices, with different functionality, sizes and operating systems. The content you share will almost exclusively be interactive and multi-media, much more so than now. Static content will be a thing of the past, replaced by personalized content, directed just at you. Updates to devices that relate to your current environment will be instantaneous. Use imagination again, and think of having all your preferences stored within your mobile devices. When walking down an aisle, a small device attached to the shelf automatically prints a coupon based on your previous purchase history, or shares relevant information that might help you make your purchase decision.
The vast majority of content in this world will probably be concise, allowing for the limitations of smaller screens and displays. Long form information or data would probably be available on an on-demand basis only, meaning that many of today’s websites will change, some drastically. This will actually increase the need for content creators as well, since as any professional writer will tell you – the shorter the piece, the better the content must be written, since every single word takes on added significance. And the fact that content will be individual or group specific will only increase the overall volume of content that must be produced, even when taking into account the shorter it will be. Which once again makes me happy in my chosen profession!
All of this means that business owners and marketers must be even more flexible and well versed in current trends and best practices.
What are your thoughts on the future of web content and the Internet itself?
As I was stuck in the airport for a bit over the weekend, coming back from a (great) trip up to Canada, I heard one of the TV hosts talking about the jobs of the future, as part of a piece on advice to today’s young people. He said that 70% of the jobs available in 2030 don’t even exist yet.
Think about that for just a bit. 70%? That’s a huge percentage of new jobs. And what will they look like? Well, you have to assume that the great majority of them will be online, though there will certainly be a good number of more “hands-on” jobs in new manufacturing industries such as the highly touted Green energy field. And even these manufacturing jobs will be incredibly high tech. But how to prepare for a position that doesn’t even exist yet? Being flexible and well versed in current technology is the best way to be ready for even newer technologies.
What does this mean for the web and online content? Like everything else, it will be a rapidly evolving process. The mediums that you use to reach online visitors may change dramatically in the next 20 years. Very few could have foreseen the huge rise in mobile apps, content and marketing 10+ years ago, and now this industry has become a giant. In similar fashion, knowing what will happen over the next decades is also just a guess at this point. But the critical thing for businesses today and in the future is to identify these trends as soon as they are revealed, and have the flexibility to take advantage of them as quickly as they can too.
We all understand that being nimble and decisive is a great advantage for any business, and those traits simply become more important every year – every time a new innovative product or service is unveiled, or a new communication platform or breakthrough is introduced. Web content as a concept may change drastically in the next 20 years, but there will always be a need for those to create original information to share, write and analyze news, and persuade consumers or voters or human beings in general. So there will always be a need for great online content, regardless. So even if we don’t know what a whopping 70% of the jobs in 2030 will even be, I can at least be confident that mine will be part of the mix…and that companies that make a real commitment to producing and sharing great content will still be the most successful online.
Yes, Hat Trick Associates provides all kinds of writing and distribution services. But there are lots of folks who write for a living who also utilize our blog, or even those internal company writers in similar working conditions that could use some tips on how to be more productive in their writing. Here are some tips on how to:
Minimize and Eliminate Distractions
No matter what your niche is or how experienced you are as a writer, you’ve probably come to realize that dealing with distractions comes with the job. Your ability to complete a piece of writing is highly dependent on how well you can block out things going on around you to focus and just write.
Some distractions will always be out there, swirling around you and constantly grappling for your attention. Others come and go. What you do to minimize or even eliminate those distractions altogether will play a big role in how productive you can be and how stressful writing is for you.
Remember, writing should be fun! To help you keep that in mind, here’s our Guide to Uninterrupted Writing. We hope you can use these tips right away and maybe even have a little fun along the way.
[Click here to view this video online]
* Control Your Environment – Whether you’re at home or out in public, pick a quiet setting where you know you can be productive. In your own home or living space, pick a room that’s semi-private and used sparingly by others. Out in public, look for a quiet area where there aren’t a lot of other people. Also, control your environment in cyberspace by closing down any browser windows or programs that aren’t absolutely essential to your writing. It’s really easy to lose track of the time on the Internet, so avoid those time-wasting programs.
* Use Plain Text Editor or Pen & Paper – You can simplify your writing experience even more by using a plain text editor, like EditPlus or NoteTab to get your thoughts down. Word processing programs are great for all of their features and tools, but it can get distracting trying to figure out what each particular tool does. Using a plain text editor will help you focus on what matters most – the words.
If you’re still struggling with distractions, try to get away from the Internet altogether by writing the old-fashioned way with a pen and paper.
* Turn Off Device Notification Alarms – Now, on the other hand, when you need to be on the Internet for research purposes, you can keep your productivity up by turning off all program notification alarms. That includes instant messenger, cell phones, push notifications and the like. Think about it, you won’t be able to focus on writing if your wife keeps texting you about tonight’s tuna casserole, or you’re getting Facebook notifications from your friend ranting about his sports team. Turn off the notifications on these devices so they aren’t constantly beeping and dinging at you.
Now, we understand that sometimes you can’t get away from every distraction. In those cases, there are a few methods to at least minimize those distractions so they waste a little less of your time.
* Shut Out Outside Noises – Wear headphones or earplugs to reduce outside noise. Put on some music to block out the rest of the world. At first, the music will drown out the other noises around you, but eventually even the music seems to fade so you can focus on writing.
* Minimize Clutter on Your Desk – Desktop knick-knacks may be fun to play with but they can be distracting and consequently waste a lot of your time. Tidy up your work area before you use it and make sure you clean it regularly.
* Write an Outline – No matter what type of distraction you encounter, you can quickly get back on task by pre-writing an outline. When you get distracted you can just consult the outline to see what you were in the middle of explaining and what you planned on writing about next.
Remember that distractions are a part of life, but they don’t have to control your life. Take these tips and apply them to your next writing session.