I started teaching Internet Marketing in Y2K. Yep, I’ve been teaching this topic since:
- Google was a fledgling little company — they filed for incorporation in 1998.
- Before Facebook existed — they launched in 2004, and opened up to more than .edu in 2006.
- Before Twitter came on the scene — they started gaining popularity with a launch at SxSW in 2007
- Prior to YouTube — which had it’s first video uploaded in 2005
- Amazon started selling things other than books — which began in 2000 when they opened their kitchen store
I’ve been around long enough to see many things come and go, and to build curriculum that I believe will help my students to leverage the good side of all of this tech. I’ve also been around this stuff long enough to see the dark side. To watch, and wonder, and worry about where it all taking us.
Like many people I watched Minority Report which came out in 2002 with fascination and thought…there is our future.
But perhaps most prophetic of all was a little film created in 2004 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson as part of a presentation they gave that year as they considered the future of journalism. They released a second version in 2005.
I began showing this video in my classes as soon as it came out. It sparked a great deal of conversation because it was future looking. Students were often skeptical of the concepts raised and didn’t really see the issues with a network that is built to show just those things that are relevant to someone based on their browsing and reading history. The history of the early start of social networking sites, Google, Amazon, and RSS feeds is fascinating. And then somewhere in there…they move from what they know…to what they envision.
You can watch EPIC2105 here:
And so here we are. 2014.
We have Facebook which serves up maybe 10% of the content an individual is subscribed to. We have retargeting of advertising. We have Twitter which is rumored to be planning an algorithmic timeline approach based on individual interests. We have Amazon which feeds us up recommendations and content based on what we’ve searched for both in Amazon and on the web. Google results are personalized to location and ads are served up to us based on our browsing history. We have multiple “Buzzfeed” type sites that serve up snippets of information that we share to our friend networks, influencing what they see. News items come through our Facebook feed, or on Twitter. Our newspapers are getting smaller, many of us use the Daily Show and Colbert Report to get our news.
We are tracked, data mined, and put into content buckets. We are segmented. We are wearing technology that monitors our every move, and Apple has provided us with an Apple Watch that will make our days more convenient and will make sure our heart still beats.
So you tell me? Are Minority Report and EPIC 2015 just works of fiction or are they prophetic works that envision our world today?
Judge for yourself. I already know what I think.