Every time I get my hair cut, my barber asks the same question, “What’s the next big thing?” What he means is when is the economy going to boom again over some new technology. Living and working in Lexington, Mass., which straddles Route 128′s hottest tech segment makes everyone in my town tech dependent, or at least tech aware. I haven’t seen anything that qualified as a true tech boom since the dotcom. The components that will facilitate the next wave, however, have been obvious. Web 2.0 added easy to create, long-term social interaction through FaceBook, Twitter, and other social sharing services. Tablets, smartphones, and big screen TVs built out the next user interface platform. Most of all, the millennial generation will drive the next wave in a different direction than previous booms. The defining characteristics of millennial users are a cross-device, cloud based, always available expectation of technology overlayed by the social, familial and work connections available through social networks.
After reading Social TV by Mike Proulx and Stacey Sherpatin, I can see how all these ingredients can come together to create a tech boom. A true tech wave causes people to fundamentally change how they use and interact with information. The first PCs eliminated layers of manual paper pushing, and allowed for a generation of knowledge workers. The Internet gave us email and made books, newspapers, music, and other forms of digitized information free for the finding. Social TV will do more than let everyone tweet about the Oscars or American Idol while they are on. They will allow your eyeballs to become the personalized target of show producers and advertisers. TV is about to go from broadcast and narrow cast to an individualized entertainment experience for each user, with a layer of your own family and friends wrapped around it.
I’d like to come back to sections of this book for detailed discussion. For now let me urge you to order a copy and start watching the #SocialTV tag. It doesn’t get a high level of tweets yet, but it is early enough in this trend that you can get a clear view of the people who are starting to drive this.
I want to learn more about #SocialTV. This post by @140dev is a great start.