Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Problem With the Future...

... is that when it arrives, there's still the Future ahead.

Doug Fisher, in commenting on presumed plans in Tampa for a one-section paper at least three days of the week, notes:

"Right now, much of our digital strategy -- and this includes companies far beyond media -- is of necessity tied to a multi-pound chunk of silicon and plastic. It's still basically a 9-5, desktop world online (even if the "desktop" is a laptop). As small, powerful information appliances and readers emerge, that single-hump graph of usage will smooth out or maybe become multi-humped. ... The bottom line is that five years, and definitely a decade, from now we don't know what we'll be using to get our news and information.

"... Is the idea of putting longer stuff online counterintuitive if mobile devices become a primary way to access the Internet? Eventually, I suspect these things will not only upend newspapers but all this stuff we've come to 'know' about our Web sites, which might not really be sites at all but various digital streams."

I can just see the postings two or three years from now:

"God, is ANYONE still using a computer to access a Web site? That is so 20th century. Get with it, people!"

"Newspaper Web sites are even deader than print because they don't have as many legacy users. People who still use Big Key media are just going to have to adapt. Those people who still use computers instead of mobile devices -- well, most of them are in their 70s and 80s anyway. As Jeff Jarvis says..."

"Journalism as we know it will come to an end without Web sites. Without the rich mix for the eyes given by the 15- to 19-inch screen, without the ability to easily read 20 to 30 headlines at one glance, no one will ever read most news stories again. It'll be all Jamie Lynn all the time."

"They'll go back to Web sites once their eyesight gets worse."

"The home page model offered a wonderful medium for long-form, literary journalism. This new medium only favors information and opinion. A golden age has disappeared."

"As I predicted in 1996, 2000, 2004, whatever, the business model of Web sites will collapse by 2012 and the last server will be turned off by 2014."

"We have a plan to ensure our company's profitability through distributing paid classified advertising on mobile devices."

"Microsoft believes that using proprietary software installed on PCs to update and develop Web news sites is a viable longterm business. Microsoft stock closed yesterday at 3 cents a share, while AP Mobile Newsnext, spun off last year by Sergey Brin in partnership with the Associated Press, closed at $12,416.25. In other news, Steve Ballmer's mansion in Washington state was put up for sale yesterday..."

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