The Future of Media – An Observation

Living in a college town, and being a fairly socially active person, I hang out with a relatively large amount of college students (ages 19-24ish…). Recently I’ve realized a fairly significant generation gap.

I was sitting in room with about 20 college students and asked them how many of them read blogs. The general reaction was along the line of “isn’t that cute, the old guy thinks we still read blogs.” Sort of a bemused head shaking. They were well aware of blogs, they just don’t ever read them.

I know that if you expand this group out to about 100 college-aged-people, you get maybe 2 or 3 who are HUGE fans of two or three (or ten) blogs and are avid readers, but the rest don’t bother.

They spend all day on Facebook, almost literally.

Nobody IMs anymore. They text. (er… txt…)

They rarely use e-mail, except for work in which case it’s a necessary evil.

People still watch TV…

…and play a ton of video games.

So, blogs, which are my business, have become mainstream, and have captured the attention of big media, but are losing the attention of the emerging generation. What’s next?





3 responses to “The Future of Media – An Observation”

  1. Adriel Avatar

    Three thoughts?

    1) I never read blogs when I was in college and they were a crazy hot social trend then. I keep tabs on several now because I have to for work and because I am now in a space where I am not getting information shoveled down my throat and Mom&Dad are no longer organizing or paying for my life so… blogs like and lifehacker are extremely relevant and helpful now like they never were 18-22.

    2) I think Twitter will surpass facebook, and any thing like Google home that can attractively conglomerate an individual’s many single-focus apps will thrive. Ie, flickr photo stream, news interests, blog updates, email, documents, status (via Twitter), etc. I think the dashboard is the next thing, with widgets that pull relevant info, but that dashboard also must have the ability to be accessed and updated from multiple platforms (ie Twitter updates and photos via cell phone – everyone txts just like you said!).

    3) I don’t think blogs are going out, but the way they are read, found, searched for, etc. is changing. Additionally I could see purpose/content of blogs changing. Perhaps op-ed blogs will go out – because most folks are interested in their friends’ opinions and funny ramblings, but could care less about the musings of someone don’t know. I want firsthand news about the pub down the street from my friend on Twitter, and I don’t really care about (or know) who writes a blog about what they think of pubs in America. Also my guess is “how to” and informational/instructional blogs will continue to rise as that is the commodity of our age.

  2. Matt Heerema Avatar

    Awesome thoughts. I’ve wondered about the dashboard myself, my only thought there is that it takes quite a bit of effort to set up iGoogle, so something will have to become dead-simply intuitive to use, and possibly even be a native desktop app. Google Gadgets (which I never use) and Dashboard widgets seem to be a step in that direction, but not quite there.

    I think the future still lies in mobile devices and development/pushing of content in that direction. I’m trying to remember where (if anywhere?) everyone was pre-MySpace, as people have (are currently) moving on from there to Facebook, and I imagine something else will be next.

    Twitter? Not sure. Possibly. I think it will burst open once people figure out txt-ing “follow [username]” to 40404. That doesn’t seem to have really “hit” the mainstream yet. It will though.

  3. Brian Anderson Avatar

    This blog has got me thinking….

    It’d be interesting to host a Round Table in Ames with business leaders, news paper employees, ames progressive people, college students, and professors who teach subjects related to media, information dissemination, and other “future of media” topics. Another group we could invite are companies who do social-media based consulting Lava Row ( or something like that.

    Maybe get a number of people who could be on a panel, and then allow the audience (live or remote) to ask questions.

    If this happens in the late winter or early spring (or after) we could host this at CoLab (

    I think there are local implications to this issue and these might be different than the global context would yield.

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