Podcast Audio | Posted by Phil Leigh on September 29, 2009
If you would like to learn how authoring will change in the next decade, this audio is for you.
Recently I encountered a newly published book about the future of business in the Internet Age. Looking at the hardcover I found myself figuratively scratching my head. I could not understand why an expert would choose an aging form factor to describe the capabilities of an emerging medium. I was asking myself, “Why does this guy fail to structure the ‘book’ in a way that uses the medium itself to demonstrate the new applications he wants to promote?” Put another way, “Doesn’t a conventional book on such a topic unintentionally message the reader to ‘do as I say; not as I do’?”
By contrast, authoring Third Generation Television and Future Developments in Video Advertising convinced us that our reports could much more effectively demonstrate future concepts by employing the multimedia characteristics of the Net itself. Thus, we sell them as PDFs, but each has embedded links to videos and animations illustrating the newer concepts. Sure, buyers can print-them-out and read them as paper documents, but they can also watch and see for themselves what we wrote about.
Furthermore, our experience leads us to reason that such is the future of authoring in general. Later in this Century observers will likely glance back at the second decade to conclude that authoring was transformed “during the teens”. Authors will routinely use three Internet characteristics that are unavailable with paper and ink.
First, is mixing media, including text, graphics, animation, video, and audio in whatever context is most appropriate. Second is ever-present access to the knowledge base of the infinite mind of the Internet Cloud. Third, is interactivity thereby permitting audience contribution to the narrative.
The trends are already in place, they’re just not yet obvious. Increasingly blogs are embedding YouTube videos. The most successful ones enjoy active communities of visitors posting comments. The same is true for the online versions of newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
The changes are exponential in the sense that they are happening at a steady rate. On a logarithmic chart, exponential change traces a straight line, but on an ordinary graph it traces a parabolic curve that rises ever-steeper with the passage of time. In the early periods exponential change is nearly imperceptible, but in the later stages it becomes overwhelming.
For example, consider a pond with a single Lilly pad. Introduce a growth function whereby the number of pads doubles everyday such that at the end of 30 days the entire pond is covered with pads. On the 27th day fully 85% of the pond remains open water, but in the final three day the exponential (doubling) growth function results in a completely pad-choked pond. Changes in “authoring in the teens” will be similar.
Such a transformation follows logically from the nearly forgotten wisdom of two Marshall McLuhan principles. First, “content follows form.” Second, “the medium is the message”.