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03:51 PM

It's Too Early To Say

The only thing that is a certainty about the Internet, I believe, is that the next generation will blow anything we're doing right out of the water.

TV anchorperson's question to reporter in field: "Any word about the motivation behind these events?"

Reporter's reply to anchor: "Well, there are some theories circulating, but nothing's certain yet, Jim."

You've no doubt noticed an uptick in these types of conversations while watching most any breaking news event being covered on TV. And I'm not assigning blame, really; the only thing worse than no information is the wrong information and I can't fault them for being overly careful. And things, certainly, do change, given time and context.

That's the way I've felt watching the Internet evolve: it's WAY too early to say, for sure.The only thing that is a certainty, I believe, is that the next generation will blow anything we're doing right out of the water.

Take, for instance, the story about the music labels going online, albeit tentatively. I have to believe, based on the buying and online habits of the three teenagers I live with, that it may be early going for online music but that we'll certainly get there. The issue right now is that 95% of all music is still bought as physical CDs and so music promoters are loath to rely solely on the online medium to launch new artists and the like.

But that will change, I wager, as the most wired generation we've ever produced gets older and has more money. The under-20 crowd is certainly already accustomed to going online to get information, to connect with friends, and to download music. Can virtual record labels be far behind?

Similarly, there's a new report that talks about differences in how men and women use the Internet. Where men are more focused on getting information, women are more communications-oriented. All true, no doubt, but I can imagine a day where everyone will use the Internet for everything.

Speaking of going places, it's also been fun to read about how far online maps have come, and the technology behind keeping them up to date.

What about you? Where do you see this medium evolving? Drop me a note or log on to my blog entry to respond. And as this will be my last editor's note this year, I wish you all a happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous 2006.The only thing that is a certainty about the Internet, I believe, is that the next generation will blow anything we're doing right out of the water.

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