I've been working on an important essay over the past three months, in between work on my thesis. The essay does not directly address my thesis topic, but it does reference many of the issues I have talked about on my Harvard Extended and I, Lamont blogs: 3D avatars, user-created video, autotagging, and additional issues related to networked technology, mass media, and society.
Others have talked about the impact of the Internet on traditional media companies, but this essay is not looking at recent developments as much as it is examining the future of news and entertainment media, as demographic trends and sophisticated technologies impact media creation and consumption patterns over the next 15 years.
The essay is called "Meeting the Second Wave: How Technology, Demographics, and Usage Trends Will Drive the Next Generation of Media Evolution," and it's long -- you'll need at least 15 minutes to read and absorb all that I have to say. But if you work in the media industry, or are interested in how technology is impacting mass media, I think it's a worthwhile read. I'd be very interested in getting feedback; feel free to leave comments below or email me directly.
There's already been some interest in this essay; the first version was reprinted by Raja and now MediaGrid.org has kindly agreed to host a version with graphics. If you're interested in reading the text-only, printer-friendly version that I originally posted, it's on my Harvard website and will remain there until I graduate.
Trey Perry has also been thinking about what the future holds for Internet development. He's written a blog post, The Internet in 2017, which discusses practical 'Net technologies ranging from GPS to personal storage.