Posts tagged ‘technology’

December 17, 2014

4.5 Social Media and Tech trends to watch for in 2015

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It has been a few years since I’ve done a prediction post, but there’s so much going on in the social media and tech world right now, and I couldn’t resist making a few guesses for the year ahead.

1. Wearables will not live up to expectations

Even though this recent 2,325-word news release suggests that wearable tech is primed for growth, I just don’t see it happening in 2015. Innovators and early adopters may jump on the wearables bandwagon, but I can’t imagine that this new product line will capture the early majority segment of the market.

I’m thinking that these products may fall below expectations because: first, the price point. Google Glass is selling for around $2,000 on Amazon.com, and smart watches range from about $100, but if you want a watch with good two-way connectivity, you’ll be putting out a couple hundred dollars for these watches. I’m not convinced that the average Jane or Joe will opt to fork out another couple hundred bucks for¬†an accessory for their smartphone, which already set them back close to $1,000.

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Wearable technology may not have the anticipated caché and growth many are predicting for next year.

Second, appearance. Admittedly, I’ve been interested in a smart watch for a little while now. How cool would it be to get alerts, take photos and videos, and even use talk-to-text features to communicate just using your wrist (cue Dick Tracy). The problem is, these watches, are definitely lacking in the style department; they look like the modern version of the calculator watch. Although that look was coveted on the playground, I’m going for a different image in the workplace.

As for Google Glass, Google is trying to give the impression that this technology is for the super fit, attractive, person on the go. I¬†imagine people¬†who will actually drop the 2K are the √ľber techies or large organizations where real-time connectivity will help their employees do their jobs – jobs like police, paramedics, and other first responders, but not your everyday commuter.

2. Continued innovation in the content marketing space

Creative creators will keep on creating, and I love content marketing. My absolute favourite example of content marketing is Lowes’ Fix in Six campaign on Vine. Besides the recent Black Friday deals listed on the channel, the vast majority of the content is quick little tips for easy home improvements. This is THE example I use to demonstrate what content marketing looks like in my Social Media Management course.

American Express’s Open Forum is a good example of a more traditional approach to providing your customers value through content marketing rather than a sales pitch. The forum is packed full of ideas, tips, how-tos, white papers, trending topics, etc. designed to help business owners on the marketing and sales side of their business, which isn’t a strong suit for many small and medium-sized business owners.

Want more great examples of content marketing from 2014? Here’s 30 more from Exacttarget/Salesforce.

3. Music industry fails to embrace new distribution methods and continues to whine about profits

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Talyor Swift (left) and Lars Ulrich (right) follow in the footsteps of John Philip Sousa (centre) in their opposition to new ways to record and distribute music.

Spurred by the recent comments of wealthy pop singer Taylor Swift (I’ll get to more specific details on this in a minute), it seems like the music and technology worlds are clashing once again. This battle seems to have been taking place in perpetuity for the last hundred, or so, years. In 1906, John Phillip Sousa, legendary American composer and marching band leader, published an essay entitled “The Menace of Mechanical Music.” In this essay, Sousa warns that recorded music, as opposed to live performances of music, removes the human skill, intelligence, and soul required to create “American¬†musical art.” He continues with a colourful metaphor to describe how the recording of music will destroy American values and eventually concludes with a discussion on the latest copyright bill introduced by Congress. Within a few years of this publication, however, Sousa himself became a prolific recorder of music on his own turning the new technology into a new revenue stream – naturally you can find his works on iTunes if you are interested.

Almost 100 years later, the same battle was still raging when Metallica’s Lars Ulrich ¬†sued a couple of young entrepreneurs to shut down their digital music sharing service, Napster, because he didn’t like that the service allowed for the trading of music among music fans. I suppose Lars forgot that Metallica built a loyal, world-wide following with the help from the (illegal) underground tape-trading network in the Metal scene of the 1980s. He was cool with music sharing when he needed the exposure to grow his band, but called in the lawyers when he thought this new business model was a threat to his royalties.

Now, 15 years after that, Taylor Swift seems to be offended by the current shift in the music distribution model, and she has Spotify squarely in her cross-hairs. Taylor’s people are saying that she’s only received a half-a-million dollars from Spotify, where as Spotify is saying that she’s on pace for a $6 million pay cheque this year. As a result, she decided to remove her entire back catalog from Spotify, forcing her fans to buy her new pop record instead of streaming it for free. This current musician vs technology debate doesn’t seem to be going away because Taylor keeps bringing it up every chance she can get… at Billboard’s Women in Music Awards, ¬†American Music Awards, and through news releases and PR efforts.

In each of these examples, the musicians have taken a combative approach to the new technology with an interest to protect their profits veiled as an interest to protect the music from the vile people who want to share it in a way that doesn’t fit into the existing business model. My gut tells me that we¬†haven’t heard the last from Taylor Swift on this issue, and if history serves as a guide, this won’t be the last time a hugely successful artist challenges new technology for a bigger part of the pie.

4. Increased tech invading the education space

The battle is brewing in this arena. I spent two days this month at an international conference hosted here in Ottawa called EdTech Summit 2014. This inaugural event featured keynotes and panel discussions with textbook publishers, silicon valley hardware/software giants, and students and representatives from a broad range of North American colleges and universities.

It was clear that two different views of education were in the room. One side saw education as another potential market for their product offering. For these folks, colleges and universities were the customers of their enterprise-level “solution” – be it course content, email provision, or software productivity tools. On the other side of the room, educators were looking towards technology as a way to achieve learning outcomes, improve student retention, and make use of the advantages current technology provides.¬†It will be interesting to see whose “view of education” will dominate.

In the months and years to come I envision that we will see more collaboration between these for-profit businesses and our not-for-profit education sector. Mobile devices and eTexts will continue to proliferate in the classroom. The real story in all of this will not be the existence of new education technology – that’s a given. Instead, the success of this technology will depend on how curious professors, instructors, and teachers adapt it¬†to serve the needs of their students. I’ll be looking to share¬†case studies of this nature in 2015.

4.5 More social media meltdowns

MichaelJacksonThis one only gets half a point because it’s just inevitable; this prediction is as difficult as saying that there will be hockey in Canada this winter. The reason I included it is, yes they are entertaining, but even more so they are great reminders of the power of social media and the importance of¬†managing your¬†online reputation. Whether it’s something on the global scale of the¬†Justine Sacco saga that caught the world’s attention at around the turn of 2014, or something as benign as a football player’s Twitter account being hacked and a few funny tweets sent out on his behalf, it will happen again in 2015. I’ll be waiting with popcorn in hand.

What do you think? Did I miss something that you see happening in 2015? Am I totally off with some of these?predictions? Let me know, sound off in the comments section below.

July 13, 2011

Are you “bad at technology”? Well then, you are bad at life.There, I said it.

When I hear somebody say “I’m bad at¬†technology, can you do this for me?,” it makes me cringe. I cringe, not because the person who is saying this is a bad person or has ill intentions, but because I don’t think they know the message they are actually sending.

When someone says “I’m bad at technology,” they may really be trying to say “I don’t understand computers” or “the internet isn’t my strong suit” or “I don’t adapt well to change” or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, etc. ¬†To Generation Y and Z (essentially anybody under 30 years old), however, they are saying “I’m not good at life.”

How dare I say that, right?

I don’t mean that the person who is “bad at technology” isn’t a successful, well-liked, professional; I mean that to Generation Y and Z, the use of modern technology is so entrenched in everyday life that it is not considered a skill-set to be learned later in life – or something to be good or bad at (like chess).¬†Due to the fact that the youngest two generations are¬†digital natives, computer/internet literacy is not a new concept introduced in school: it’s learned from a very young age along with their mother¬†tongue. Technology provides Generation¬†Y and Z with an instant, and efficient, way to work, play, organize, express, share, learn, love, hate, and be entertained.¬†So, the idea of “being bad at technology” represents more than just not knowing how to use computers. To these generations, being “bad at technology” means you are bad at almost every aspect of making your life work.

Don’t get me wrong, I remember the analog days (the end of them at least), but communication was ¬†a lot harder back then. It was harder to stay in touch with friends, harder to keep your loved-ones up-to-date on what’s going on in your life, and harder to organize a social gathering. In those days, I would have to get on the telephone, plan during face-to-face meetings, and rely on hand-written schedules to make sure things got done. Now, I can simply share a few sentences on my social media networks and accomplish all of these goals in a matter of seconds.

I know that the statement “If you say you are not good at technology you are telling everyone under 30 you are bad at life” is contentious, and it’s meant to be. ¬†I’ve used this statement in one-on-one conversations, group discussion sessions, casually in passing, and as an instructor at Algonquin College, and each time it starts an interesting debate about the role of technology in our lives. Some love it, some hate it, but after discussion, each side gains some insight.

Remember, technology moves fast – ¬†Check out this interesting video of youngsters trying to figure out the purpose of technologies invented in the last 30 years. Are they “bad at technology” too?

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