Future Shifts from Within

“…many signs indicate that the future enters us… in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.” – Rainier Maria Rilke

future shifts
Photo by Trey Ratcliff, shared via Creative Commons license.

I think our newfound access to information and communication via increasingly usable devices is still so fresh and exciting that any judgment, survey, or even NYT article on the subject cannot be taken too literally.

We’re humans. Creatures of comfort bound to act irrationally in a wide open yet unfamiliar place of such inebriating possibilities as the digital world. Attention, Stimulation, Information… we’re multitasking and we want more!

But how can we be the same if everything around us is changing?

You can break it down to the 0’s and 1’s. For business, society, government… this is a revolution. But I think it’s just a “shift” for interpersonal communication and the way we relate, react, co-create, and respond.

All of this info is ours at last and it’s still incredible to just suck it up and share it. We have instant audiences and can solicit instant feedback yet for the most part our tweets do nobody more good than ourselves. Sometimes you’ve gotta say it out loud to realize it. But for the hundreds of blogs in our RSS readers how many posts are we commenting on or better yet taking personally as invitations for feedback / collaboration.

In IMs and status updates and quick emails, much comes across out-of-context and is open to interpretation — even guessing. What does he/she mean exactly? But it’s a shift – we still “learn” each other in much the same way we might (or might not) in an extended face-to-face.

Everyday we know the future will be here tomorrow and that’s not to be taken for granted. But some things stay the same.

It’s easier than ever to make connections but it’s nothing compared to being “there” and making it all connect.

Part 1 in an series of posts and cross-published comments inspired by friends’ recent blog posts. This in response to “The Messages We Receive,” by Nicole Cifani.

New OECD report on “The future of news and the Internet”

The death of the newspaper is greatly exaggerated — generally speaking from the point of view of the OECD. Aside from in the U.S., the decline in revenues is on par with the general financial decline in recent years.

Figure 1. Estimated newspaper publishing market decline in OECD countries, 2007-2009 (in per cent)

…[A] new OECD report looking at “The Future of News and the Internet”. It contains new data and analysis on the global newspaper industry and the challenges presented by the Internet. Its main message is that “large country-by-country and title-by-title differences and the data currently do not lend themselves to make the case for “the death of the newspaper”, in particular if non-OECD countries and potential positive effects of the economic recovery are taken into account.” The full report, including data and charts, is available at http://www.oecd.org/document/48/0,3343,en_2649_34223_45449136_1_1_1_1,00.html

After very profitable years, newspaper publishers in most OECD countries face declining advertising revenues, titles and circulation. The economic crisis has amplified this downward development.

About 20 out of 30 OECD countries face declining newspaper readership, with significant decreases in some OECD countries. Newspaper readership is usually lower among younger people who tend to attribute less importance to print media. In OECD countries, the general, regional and local press have been hardest hit and 2009 was expected to be the worst year for OECD newspapers, with the largest declines in the United States, the United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Canada, and Spain (but much a much smaller impact on countries such as Austria, Australia (See above).

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Google Should Use AdWords to Make BP Fund Oil Spill Relief

BP Logo mashupFor the past couple weeks I’ve seen headlines and tweets regarding BP’s leveraging of Google Adwords (as well as Bing and Yahoo!) to control the top (sponsored) search results for such terms as BP Oil Spill. This is a natural response to crisis for any corporation, no matter the depth of its PR 2.0 savvy.

But according to recent AdWords number crunches, BP is only paying an average of $1.33 per click or roughly $1 million each month (SearchEngineWatch, June 9). Perhaps as low as $1.22 per click.

Why so little? Nobody has been outbidding them in the AdWords marketplace. It’s time for some guerrilla tactics.

Here’s what I propose: Google should donate any revenues above $5 per click for any keyword to funds and charities dedicated to restoring the Gulf and/or to benefit those whose livelihoods have been shattered as a result of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill.

Yes, this is a crazy idea and it could throw AdWords of its hinges. So let’s just do it for ONE DAY. Google can’t change the rules for specific keywords but they can change the rules across the board. All it would take is a few noble souls willing to launch a bidding war with BP up to say – $20 per click. And Google’s word that monies will be donated (a great PR move in itself).

Justice is: clicking a search result and having $15 transfer BP to a non-profit Oil Spill fund. With each and every click!

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PBS Newshour’s Deepwater BP Oil Spill Widget

I’ve been tracking and writing about the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for Live Earth but I thought I’d note the excellent widget that PBS Newshour created to help users track and visualize the apparently unstoppable horror that has been ongoing for more than a month off the coast of Louisiana. Great work by one of the finest multimedia teams in the land.

It’s horrible and embarrassing that we’d give oil companies such extensive liberty so as to contaminate our waters knowing that there was no available technology to avert the inevitable disaster that we are facing right now. Personally I hope to see Obama get serious and put his foot down even more — this is the ultimate cause for concern about climate, energy, and the future.