Many have made predictions about what’s to come in 2012 on just about every topic. One in particular, about the future of the Internet, caught our attention.
The Year of the Personal Internet?
In December, Daylife, a leading cloud content and publishing platform for a variety of well-known sites including USA Today, ABC News, NPR, and Forbes, published its predictions for 2012. The first one on its list confidently declared that The Internet Will Become Hyper Personalized in which
2012 will be a decisive year in the move toward the personal Internet. This personalized Internet will allow users to create their own seamlessly integrated collection of education, information, entertainment, social environments and commerce experiences within a diverse range of hardware to be consumed however they choose, wherever they choose, whenever they choose."
Throughout 2011, we argued for and against the merits of a personalized web experience. Creating an online environment in which users can customize what information they search, access and share will either scare you or invigorate you, depending on what you want from the Internet. Of course, it’s not as simple as opting in or out of the process. It involves semantic web technologies as well as the Powers That Be and their desire to prohibit the attributed online sharing of content.
Yet, there is another side to the personalized Internet, which affects how we read online media. Good website design has long dictated that you can say what you want as long as it doesn’t take up too much space, or force the user to scroll too much down the page. In fact, we at CMSWire struggle as well to offer readers a simple, yet user-friendly way to read longer articles. We know that pagination isn’t always preferred, but it’s what we’ve decided to use, for now.
In a recent article from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, John Tayman, founder and chief executive officer of Byliner, writes about his company’s efforts to “give writers the opportunity to draw out the complexities of a story and get it in front of potential readers” without limiting word count. By combining e-book technology with the demands of the daily news cycle, Byliner’s strategy has been able to “liberate [authors] from the pre-determined schedules of traditional book and magazine publishing.”
More Choices, Fewer Limitations
What does this have to do with the hyper-personalized Internet? Companies like Byliner that are working to help readers and content creators consume and create “however they choose, wherever they choose, whenever they choose” is the basis of the personalized Internet. For too long, we’ve been locked into the confines put forth by others. But the web is malleable, flexible and relatively easy to evolve as long as you’re improving or adding value to the online experience. As 2012 begins to take shape, the future of the Internet has the potential to innovate our online experiences. We can only hope it’s in a way that gives us more options, and not limitations.