Futurism isn’t what it used to be

While searching around for videos that were meant to show the ridiculousness of futurist videos from the past, I stumbled upon a jewel of a video that shows our not-too-distant future.

You can’t just help but imagine that this is the world we live in today where everything is in the present, your life is hackable (for better or worse), and “having game” is actually now about gaming.

There are far better ways to live life than to get too caught up in a Google Glass world. I’ve made sure to switch on the “Do Not Disturb” toggle on my iPhone when appropriate, and my friends and I stack our phones during dinner.

I get made fun of sometimes but I’m probably one of the most “analog” digital guys you’ll ever meet.

My only advice: take time to explore real maps when you arrive in a new city and get your thumbs dirty with ink and read actual newspapers and magazines.

Keeping one foot in the future and one in the past will help you stay grounded.

The futurist videos of the past seem less ridiculous when paired up with what we see today.

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Marketing the medium

One thing that really upsets me is the way marketers view digital media. It really does. I don’t mean to go to negative-town, but I really need to explain it to those who just don’t get it.

If Philo T. Farnsworth , the inventor of television, were alive today, he would tell you about all of the hell David Sarnoff put him through.

I’ll let you research their story, but the point is, television and radio were made to be biased against interaction or control, whether intentional or not. Television without a remote control created an atmosphere where one would almost forcefully watch through commercial after commercial after commercial.

Unless one had a child (the hacker) at the set at all times to help you change the channel if an advertisement came on (trust me, this was my childhood job), your bottom line was set to unfortunately rely on corporate entertainment.

OK, so what’s done is done.

Interaction occurs. People can now fast-forward through those ads and forget about them entirely.

And, if product placement occurs, there are surely more places to find better entertainment for free (or, for goodness sake, play outside, even an outsider can do this as he/she now has easier access to find other outsiders to go to, let’s say, a renaissance faire).

The point is, I’m upset that marketers think that digital media is for them. It wasn’t set up to be. Sarnoff isn’t alive.

They can be part of the medium.  But, marketing the medium will surely hit the path of least resistance.

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The hacker generation

In order to understand how we got here, we’ve got to understand where we’ve been.

While Generation X was the Slacker Generation, I’ve deemed ours the Hacker Generation

Below is a algebraic representation of how the controllers (the elite) beckoned new media capabilities to the masses.

Put simply, if all you could do is believe, then the controller (the God[s]), as it was dogmatically accepted, could only hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly happening below.

Once priests/monks knew how to read, then all the masses could do is listen. And so on…

Social control as a function of media

Social control as a function of media by Douglas Rushkoff

So, now we are at a point where we can (and have) become the programmers.

The Hacker Generation

With open APIs abundant in several applications, this is the new wave of business and entrepreneurship, on a highly localized level.

With a cooperative, collaborative model set to benefit applications and its community, business has changed from a top-down, scarce (closed) model to an bottom-up, open source (abundant) one. And, it benefits the whole.

This doesn’t just apply to online applications, offline hacking can occur too.

My advice to small businesses: allow all of your workers to learn every single part of your business (yes, even your janitors). But, the only way to achieve this is if there is an open incentive for them to do this (you can figure this out on your own). You want all of your employees to care about your organization.

Ideas are abundant, don’t let them be scarce.

Individualism is an out of touch PR term

It usually goes like this:

X&Y brand is bringing you the latest [insert contest or promotion here] for you to express your individualism and creativity.

I’ve been forced to write this false sense of a term in a press release before, even after I persistently fought against using it, especially because of the demographic.

First introduced by political economist Adam Smith, he argued the economy should be based on greed without much regard “to any overarching scheme of goodness or justice.

Rushkoff, on the Media Squat, even went so far as to say that Game Theory, and, in particular, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, is a misnomer and has been proven wrong. Human beings, he argues, are set apart by rational thought.

The digital age and its influence on business just goes to show that collaboration trumps this false sense of competition (and scarcity).

Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known. – Chuck Palahniuk

Success is only achieved by the purpose.

The way it was meant to be…

What media and corporations do not seem to figure out is that this is the way it was meant to be.

True scarcity. To an economist, the actual economy.

Information was meant to be shared, aggregated, and deciphered amongst the masses. Never before has this happened so easily, so freely, so unfiltered.

To the media, embrace it.  You will become again what you once were.

Investigative.

To the corporations, embrace it.  Set your products apart so that competition won’t even matter.

Innovation.

The way it was meant to be.

Blogs every marketer should follow

If you’re new to this whole bottom-up approach to media & marketing, you’re very behind the curve.  But, not to worry, there are plenty of ways to catch up.

Below are my recommended blogs that every marketer should follow:

Church of the Customer

Douglas Rushkoff

Seth Godin

  • Author and speaker who has called marketers liars and has asked people to join tribes and lead the way in markets.  This is truly daily inspiration.

PR 2.0

  • Brian Solís, founder of FutureWorks, a PR & new media agency, is a thought leader in the new media & technology realm.  He and Jess3 created the Conversation Prism, a beautiful graphic charting the social media space.

Groundswell

  • Charlene & Josh, authors of the book with the same title, come to us from Forrester Research.  They pioneered a new era combining data, research models, and new media.

There are many more, but these should give you a good start.  There’s much more to it than just tweeting, facebooking, and YouTubin’.  Standards exist.  Learn them and live them.

TV on the iMac, a dream (almost) come true

For those who have been to my apartment, you see that I use my iMac for two purposes:

  • As a computer
  • As my living room television

We are at a convergence point where television will be watched entirely from the computer.  Even though I have cable hooked up to the back of my iMac provided to me by the ElGato device, I would love to get rid of that almost-required $100+ digital cable package bill (I really could do without a LAN line).

I hardly watch television to begin with (save watching Keith Olbermann, The Office, 30 Rock, PBS, and the National Geographic Channel), and I can definitely catch these shows on sites like Hulu.com, NBC.com, and PBS.org.

So why do I still have digital cable?

I guess it’s because I like to channel surf on the weekends from the couch.  I can’t do that without having ElGato because then, I would have to navigate from far away (which is hard when you only have a 20″ screen).  Plus, where would I watch TV when I’m in the bedroom?  From my iPod touch (not yet, anyways)?

Here’s the ultimate solution:

  • Buy a projector for every room, throw it up against the wall, and hook it up to a CPU (Mac mini)
  • Get a portable keyboard and mouse/remote to use and switch between TV/internet (and other functions)
  • Kick the cable habit
  • Make MobileTV more avaialble (AT&T has done a great job at this with their Samsung and LG product lines); let’s go iPhone!
  • Sites like Hulu, CurrentTV, et al., should have streaming channels that you can watch from software like FrontRow

I’m sure the overhead I spend every month could be suplemented by me investing in this sort of technology.

Here’s to the future…