Trendspotter’s Guide

Creating a trendspotter’s guide is difficult because it requires knowledge of the current technological situation and foresight into the future, and with technology, that is a lot to ask. Developments occur every day, which makes the field so captivating.

One source to look for in the future is online streaming. With streaming, users can customize their viewing experience. I think this source has a promising future that companies with capitalize on. One possibility is for companies to tap into each viewer’s preferences and sell this information to production companies, so they could target specific users in crowd sourcing movie campaigns. This is a very specific example of how online streaming can promote profitability beyond the subscription fee that the provider requires.

Another source to watch for new developments quite frankly is Google. In a way, Google seems to be taking over the world. From Google Glass to Google Fiber, Google has influence in a variety of aspects in the technology industry. Google was even in the news recently for almost purchasing Tesla, a big automobile corporation, and they already have the Google Self-Driving Car. Google has endless resources and forward-thinking employees, so it will be interesting to see what they do next. Will this monopoly get confronted eventually for having such a widespread presence?

One final source in the future for readers to look out for is social media. Social media is already so expansive, but users love the features and real-time communication aspects. This area has major potential for profitability and exposure. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have all succeeded, but there will be more sites with more advanced components that attract users and gain a following.

Trends are fascinating to watch develop and monitor over time. The smallest things can expand into something big and lasting. It’s hard to say where society is headed with technology since it has evolved so quickly in a short amount of time. Regardless, there will be a variety to trends to be on the lookout for and take part in.

If you have extra time and want to check out the Top Tech Trends of 2015 according to Avnet, Inc, watch their YouTube video.

Social Media and Blogging: The Proliferation of Ideas

Now more than ever, information is being transmitted and received in incredible time. Even third world countries, which are known to be behind in the economic and social aspects, have access to information. In fact, social media and blogging are enabling third world countries to set and maintain their own cultural agenda instead of just following that of the traditional western ideals (Sabir, 2013). Regardless of how poor the living conditions are, or how intolerable local government is, the internet is everywhere, which is informing many people of national issues and allowing them to form their own opinions. The proliferation of ideas is definitely evident in today’s society, as social media and blogging also promote long distance education and work opportunities. A mother of two whom works the night shift in town now has the opportunity to enroll in online classes in order to better her education and the future for not only her, but her two children as well. As mentioned in the Journal of Marketing Education, blogging is an innovative tool for classes to use in order to refine their skills. In this particular case, marketing students maintain topical blogs in order to gain experience and exercise skills needed for the field (Kaplan, Piskin, & Bol, 2013). All of that being said, I would say that Cairncross correctly predicted that the proliferation of ideas would be major trend, specifically in terms of social media and blogging.

I believe a big trend that Cairncross didn’t identify but goes well with both social media and blogging is the potential for profit. Social media is a great source of marketing and driving sales for companies. Specifically, users can now simply click the “buy” button by a post or tweet and in two clicks have the item purchased (Holmes, 2014). This type of money driven site is extremely beneficial for companies and convenient for users. Another trend within the two genres is the rise of video correspondence (Woener, 2015). Years ago, capturing video and sending it over a medium in seconds would have been considered far-fetch. Now, there’s dozens of apps, including Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat that rely on video capabilities in order to have a following. This isn’t just seen in social media. Many blogs rely on video tutorials and diaries to connect with readers on a more personal note. Overall, social media and blogging are keen in spreading information and ideas around the world. There is certainly untapped potential with these genres that will be interesting to see develop.

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Blogging and the Death of Distance

Like social media, blogging is a critical tool that is utilized in order to bring about the death of distance. Blogs connect people from all walks of life, from single parents documenting their daily trials and tribulations, to successful entrepreneurs sharing the secrets of their success. Blogging has no rules. You can essentially write about anything, which is why it has such a wide following across the world.  Blogging has become one of the most popular networking tools (Thevenot, 2007). It allows people to connect with others with similar interest, regardless of the geographical differences. Whether it is about important legal matters, or simple food reviews, blogs have an incredible impact. One of the many benefits of blogs is that they facilitate exploration and modelling of online communication issues, in addition to promoting collaboration (Weaver, 2010). This type of exploration is exactly what makes blogs appealing to such a broad audience.

When something important happens, either personally or publically, people typically like to share their opinions on the matter. Bloggers with similar opinions, regardless of location, can unite and form a team of sorts. People with dissenting opinions can be exposed to a different argument other than their own, and even if they do not agree with it, at least they are growing and familiarizing themselves with society. One of the important features of blogging is the sense of community that it creates. Blogs are linked with one another and with readers, so reading a single blog is all a part of a larger experience. Many bloggers comment on each other’s posts, which creates a network of cross-references among blogs (Goldstein, 2009). The connected network of blogs is what drives the passion of bloggers to continue writing and connect with others that, while they may experience life in a different culture, have an interest in expanding their knowledge.

Individuals are not the only ones that can take advantage of the reach of blogs. Many companies, both small and large utilize the potential of blogging by sponsoring one of their own. Blogs are quickly becoming a place for companies to interact with their target market and gain followers (Hall, 2010). This allows people in America to learn about an up and coming company situated in England that could be of benefit to them. Regardless of if it is for personal or professional use, blogs can link people from all over the world, ridding geographical barriers inferior to the internet.

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Social Media and the Death of Distance

Arguably one of the most beneficial aspects of social media is the fact that it has drastically reduced geographical barriers, so Cairncross definitely predicted correctly for the social media genre that there would be a death of distance. Gone are the days where family and friends have to engage in the time-consuming process of hand writing a letter, purchasing a stamp, dropping it off at the US Postal Office, and waiting for 3 days for the letter to be delivered just to wish them a happy birthday. Instead, now individuals can send messages to others in a matter of minutes. The internet was the main creation responsible for connecting users, but social media gives individual users a voice and a platform to be heard.

According to the Social Science Computer Review (2014), social media are becoming an important intermediary for interaction between governments, governments and citizens, and governmental agencies and businesses, because of the openness, participation, and sharing capabilities offered. This is certainly evident by the number of U.S. agencies that now have accounts on social media sites, such as CIA, FBI, Homeland Security, DEA, and many more, not to mention state and local government representatives. Companies are also using social media to connect with users and establish a more personal relationship. According to the Public Relations Review (2011), philanthropic companies such as the Red Cross find practicing public relations through social media both effective and necessary. They believe it creates a two-way dialogue with younger constituents, the media, and the community. This type of appeal leads to greater awareness and involvement. As Daniel Newman mentions in his article (2012), the death of distance via social media is an opportunity for individuals to better collaborate, communicate and innovate through opportunities and challenges in the future. When something controversial happens in the news, one of the first things people do is pick up their phone and take to social media to share their views. This was extremely evident with the Ferguson protest. Users were able to connect with others all over the country to stage local protests and unite in the fight. This outrage has sparked a national debate and led to reformed police tactics.

The positive benefits of being able to express opinions are also met with the downsides, as seen by the Washington Post article written by Seva Gunitsky (2015), in which he proclaims that social media is a safe and relatively cheap way for rulers to discover private grievances and policy preferences of their people. This is the negative part of reducing distance, bringing dictators closer to the dissent and allowing them to punish people for having opinions. Social media has certainly given rise to the death of distance, in more positive ways than negative. It has given individuals the opportunity to connect with others far away and have their voice be heard.

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Blogging and the Loss of Privacy

Blogging seems to be a recent phenomenon that has a large following. There are thousands of blogs, some with hundreds of followers, and some with none at all. Some bloggers get paid for expressing their opinions, while others simply write as a hobby for themselves. Before I get too far into discussion, it’s best to first define the major term. According to the English Language Teaching journal (ELT), blogs are web logs of thoughts, reflections, and events in the writer’s life (Eastment, 2005). Therefore, blogging is the act of creating and editing this type of log.

It should not come to any surprise that with blogging comes the expected loss of privacy, as mentioned in Cairncross’s “Trendspotter’s Guide”. After all, individuals are sharing personal stories and opinions on the internet, one of the least secure hosts possible. According to the Information and Communications Technology Law, blogs raise a number of privacy issues since they are easy to produce and disseminate, resulting in large amounts of sometimes personal information being broadcast across the internet (McCullagh, 2008). Not all bloggers intend for their information to be seen by strangers, however, and make their blogs private for only approved readers to view. Even these steps are not always enough to secure information. The Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology report that blogging has become an important aspect of communication among college students (Child, Pearson, & Petronio, 2009). In fact, it is predicted that as many as four million college students maintain their own blog and are quick to disclose personal information on their respective sites. College students learn things and have new experiences every day, so it should come as no surprise that they are a growing group that are passionate about sharing their knowledge and encounters with the world.

I believe one trend that Cairncross didn’t mention but that could be found within blogging is the potential of commercial influence on opinions. Many blogs are now corporately sponsored, which means some of what they say are not as much the author’s true opinions, but rather are in support of a company’s new product. According to a study conducted by ResearchNow, nearly 9 in 10 consumers make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog (Gunelius, 2014). That is a phenomenal percentage that gives a lot of power to the blogging author. Thus, why I think corporate influence is currently, and in the future, a trend of communication methods.

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Social Media and the Loss of Privacy

Social media arguably has one of the biggest social impacts on society. It is a tool to stay in contact with friends and families, connect with new acquaintances, and share information about new experiences and personal opinions. In fact, social media is currently the most popular online genre of all. Since this is the first post regarding the topic, it’s best to define the term social media, which, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, are forms of electronic communication (web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos.)

One of the trends Cairncross mentions is the loss of privacy with new communications. While many people would agree that one of the benefits of social media is that you can post and share with friends, many don’t realize just how vulnerable their information is. While it is originally intended to just be shared with a core group of people, it has the potential to be seen by thousands. Thus, I believe the trend of a loss of privacy is extremely accurate to the internet genre of social media.  By partaking in social media activities, you are essentially agreeing that your information is out on the internet for all to see. Many sites, especially Facebook, have received widespread media attention on their privacy policies (Weinstein, 2013) . Most users don’t realize what exactly they are consenting to by using the site and how their information can be accessed by third parties. Multiple campaigns have been launched to revamp the privacy policies for these sites, and to some extent they have been successful, but there is still much room for improvement in order to better protect the user. Now we’ve all heard our parents and mentors tell us not to post anything that we wouldn’t want our grandmother or employer to see, but to what extent should this be true? Nowadays employers are scouring social media sites of potential employees in order to determine if they will represent the company well or rather would likely be a liability. In fact, the Air Medical Journal reports that because of the proliferation of social media, employers are now crafting internal company policies to restrict specific content from being posted by their employees (Clark, 2010). That type of policy could be seen by some as restricting the freedom of speech (Abril, P., Levin, A., & Del Riego, A., 2012). Is it fair that the user should have to take caution, instead of the site creating barriers in order to protect their information? It is because of all of this that social media can be accurately described as following the trend of loss of privacy, as seen with the world-wide concern on the topic.

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Introduction

Hey everyone! My name is Kiersten Denny and I am a senior ICT major here at FSU. To start, I just wanted to tell you a little bit about myself. I work at the Help Desk at the Tallahassee City Hall. Not the most exciting job, but it gives me some applicable tech experience. I’m a member of an organization on campus called Lady Spirithunters. It’s a spirit-based organization that supports FSU athletics, while participating in community service events and having social events. I was on the executive board for this organization last year and absolutely loved it. In my down time I like to go out with friends, watch Netflix (my favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy), and read a good book. If there is ever a jigsaw puzzle around I won’t be able to stop until it’s completed, so be warned. I’m an animal lover, but specifically am partial to puppies and penguins. Throughout the semester I’ll be updating my blog on various trends for a couple of genres. I’ll try to make it as interesting as possible, so bear with me! Thanks for visiting!