After yesterday’s post about the death of press releases, I’ve come across more media trend predictions on Steve Rubel’s blog about when the death of ALL tangible media formats will happen. As more communities share knowledge online, suggesting that preceding formats will die out as a result is tempting, but in six years? I think that is unlikely.
What is interesting about the similarity between these ideas is while the former (death of releases) idea could be seen as as ‘call to action’ to PR professional to change the way they communicate, the idea that the end could be nigh for newspapers as well would place a similar pressure upon journalists, broadcasters and bloggers.
A few thoughts I’d like to add to that discussion are these:
1) Internet penetration levels are still not high enough, even in the US to enable even the poorest person to access news online. The mobile internet may be a significant growth area in the future, but even this trend excludes older news consumers, who would find such technology hard to use. Also, what about people in other countries? How would an ‘online only’ society communicate with those that are not?
2) A disturbing thought: we as a global society don’t yet have a way of securing an energy independent future. Will we have enough electricity to keep us going over the next 100 years? With that in mind is it really wise to put all of our recorded knowledge onto the web, an innovation which is dependent upon electricity? What would happen to all of our records of modern society if the lights went out?
3) With regard to books, I doubt very much that they will be seen as a defunct format. While I may not have bought a CD recently, had my software emailed to me, I still buy and always will buy hard copy books. I (believe it or not) don’t want to be online ALL the time. Books for me personally are more than just a convenient format like a CD or DVD; they represent an opportunity to digest information in a slower, more relaxing fashion.
Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins has added some noteworthy points on this topic too.