Hot Topics | Ramona Pringle on The Year Ahead in Digital
December 15, 2015
We are closing out 2015 by taking a look at the year ahead. Throughout December we will be featuring guest posts from some of our expert speakers on the Future & Trends relevant to their particular area of expertise.
Today’s guest post comes from Interactive Producer & Expert on Digital Media Culture Ramona Pringle. She is the Acting Director of Ryerson University’s Transmedia Zone- an incubator for the future of media- and head of her own production company, she specializes in digital multi-platform production. Ramona has developed and produced work for CBC, TVO, CTV and PBS where she worked as interactive producer on Frontline’s Digital Nation.
When it comes to social media, we’ve entered the awkward “adolescent” years. In the early days, or the “infancy” of social media, everything new was exciting: We could connect easily with old friends, share ideas, work remotely. But the heavyweights like Youtube and Facebook have been around for over a decade now, and as they’ve permeated every aspect of how we meet, socialize and work, new complications have arisen. Despite having access to more information than ever, as we get more of our news from the people we follow online, are we becoming trapped inside echo chambers? Are all of these digital tools wreaking havoc on our attention spans? In an age when everything is documented and shared online, what happens when you actually want to forget something?
In 2016, we’re going to see trends that speak to our fully-connected lives. As digital tools have saturated society, unexpected challenges and questions have arisen. These challenges present market opportunities. Here are two of the big trends I see for the year ahead:
Attention is currency. This is true online, where views and clicks can be considered a raw commodity, and being able to capture and hold people’s attention is a skill to master… but it’s true in our offline lives as well. If there is something, or someone, you value, pay attention. It’s harder and harder, with each new device, but because of that we’re also reaching a tipping point. Whether you’re online or off, be present, engage fully. We do ourselves a disservice when we splinter our attention. There’s tremendous opportunities for services and apps that help us focus, and help us regain control and agency over our attention.
Contextual Awareness. There’s a huge opportunity for new apps (and new features for existing apps!) that are responsive to the complicated and messy nature of humans. Facebook has let us proclaim “It’s Complicated” for years now, and yet it’s only recently that they launched a tool to help deal with breakups in the over-archived digital space, giving users more control over what they share, what they see and how they can mend a broken heart. Humans want to connect. We want to share. But sometimes people make mistakes. In 2016, we will see more technologies that have contextual awareness, that is used to give the user more control over his or her digital experience, to give us more agency over privacy controls, interpersonal interactions, and memories, just to name a few. Hopefully, as context awareness grows, we also see the rise of emotional intelligence, so that instead of iMessage just predicting what word you’ll say next, or changing a spelling mistake, Siri will nudge you if you’re about to say something offensive in a text message, or push a prompt asking “are you sure you want to share that with the world?”