Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Next Big Thing

Almost as much fun as people- watching is trend-watching. Facebook seems to have been the trend of the decade. It came out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere. And like Myspace and AOL (remember them?), Facebook may go out of fashion. That's the  problem with trends. They become hugely popular, often very quickly, but don't have lasting power.

The Kindle was around for three years building steam before it became the Big Thing, changing the way people buy, read and publish books. Will it have lasting power? Looking at Amazon's history, I would say yes. But what do I know? I get sucked into believing in trends as much as anyone.

Right now, I am watching Twitter. Although I've read posts and articles "explaining" Twitter, the only way to make it work for you is jump in and get immersed. Much like learning a new language. I find Twitter one of the most exciting, challenging social media venues right now. I don't know if it will be The Next Big Thing, because I doubt that it can meet the common ground necessary to make it as huge as Facebook.Or blogging.

Blogging is running its course as The Next Big Thing. It used to be websites, everybody had to have a website--now it's a blog. Something may come out of nowhere and take the place of blogging, but I don't know what it would be. Any ideas? What's your best guess on The Next Big Thing?

What fascinates me about trends is that they seem so real, so lasting and solid. How could anything so very powerful, holding the interest and dollars of numberless people-- in the case of Facebook, billions and billions-- ever disappear?  Well, just remember the Titanic. And the Roman Empire.

39 comments:

  1. I have no idea what the next big thing might be. Maybe Youtube channels? They've been waiting on the sidelines for a while now.

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  2. I think Twitter may be the current Big Thing and Facebook is starting to decline - the private nature of Facebook, the fact you tend to look for specific people rather than just browse, doesn't seem like it will last for much longer in our exhibitionist age!

    The next big thing is clearly me :p

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  3. I can't even begin to guess what will be the next big thing...
    I'll be sad if facebook dies out amongst my friends and family. It has truly become the easiest and quickest way to stay in touch. If not for facebook, I may lost touch with several people.
    I like twitter, but it's always on the back burner and I haven't had time lately.
    I like my blog. It's become a good outlet for me. I would hate to see blogging go, but, as with many other things, it's day may come (or go).

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  4. I'm just glad the mullet went out of style!

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  5. I have a friend who only recently abandoned his AOL account, and got... another AOL account! (shuddering)

    Looking forward to seeing what takes off - not always the obviously useful.

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  6. Alex, You are cracking me up here. And I bet you even wore a mullet.

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  7. I'm not sure about the "Next Big Thing." But I know from experience as a newspaper columnist that after about five years, one runs out of good ideas, and starts to be a bit stale. Blogging depends, somewhat (maybe a lot) on what is happening in one's life, as does column-writing.
    I've never really caught on to Facebook, and I've never tried Twitter. Life at 140 characters per post is a bit thin, but it's good for organizing riots, I'm told.

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  8. Rob bear, Being in the newspaper business, you have probably seen a lot come and go. What's weird is to see newspapers themselves fading out of favor.

    Beverly, I actually have an AOL account. I use it for the kind of junk I don't want in my gmail account. But I always am embarrassed when I have to give out the AOL email.

    Laura, Facebook has become all things to all people. It's inevitable that there's going to be some fallout.

    Ellen, "the next big thing is me" LOL. Perfect answer!!

    Paul, Youtube may be one of those things with staying power rather than a trend that everybody follows.

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  9. I think the next big thing will be personal megaphones. People will stand on street corners just shouting about whatever's on their mind.

    mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino
    follow me!

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  10. Trends are so interesting to me because they are so media-driven. I tried Twitter and it just seemed to be a time suck. I know I wasn't using it properly. Facebook is interesting just to see what those I know are posting. But a marketing tool? I don't know. As for the next big thing, who knows? All I know is I probably won't like it.
    Karen

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  11. Sadly, Karen, newspapers are falling out of favour. I think people prefer the immediacy of the electronic media (radio and television), though I don't think people get as much in-depth reporting as in newspapers and magazines. BRW, Max Aitken (Baron Beaverbrook) observed that a licence to operate a radio station be a licence to print money.
    The newer forms of communication are, in a sense, a democratization of the media. As I said in a recent column, those media mean there are reporters everywhere. So, in a sense, with blogging and Facebook, everyone can publish his/her own newspaper.

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  12. Next big thing?!?! You! Yay! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  13. I believe that as long as companies update their trendy products, they'll last longer than expected.

    I don't know what the next big thing will be. I'm thinking computer chips in our brains for instant-instant access, not this DSL or wireless business. M.T. Anderson's FEED comes to mind.

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  14. All I know is, the more time we spend on our "social media" the less time we do what we need to do. Don't get me wrong, I love my blog and I love visiting others, but it can take you and hold you instead of getting down to brass tacks as it were. As writers we need to keep ourselves in front of others but even more important - we need to keep writing. Sometimes we forget that.

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  15. I so wish I could predict the next Big Thing. That way, I might manage to get to grips with it before it vanished forever. :)

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  16. Hi,

    I hated AOL. I didn't think much of myspace. I detest facebook. And, twitter to me is like watching graffiti dry! I still prefer blogging, because it's a more sustainable community: with spirit as opposed to passing acquaintances much like confetti on the wind, which is all twitter amounts to.

    I just don't get all this networking craze!! Have you noticed it's the same old faces once seen on the blogosphere. What is the point of reworking the same links over and over again?

    I'm getting back to writing since I threw Twitter and the rest into the once a week in-out tray. ;)

    best
    F

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  17. A very good point. I'm wondering what could be the next big thing when it comes to social networking, maybe something with more video interaction. But who knows?

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  18. I'm not sure what the next big thing is but it will come- what ever it is- I think Ipads will go down in price and be around a while and perhaps like Elena said video blogging and such will become a hit

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  19. I would be the worst person to try to predict the next big thing, cos I always get it wrong! I remember thinking it was mad of people to open mobilephone shops, cos once everyone who wants a mobile has one, they'll be out of business!
    I don't get Twitter at all, obviously wrong again.
    So don't listen to me!

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  20. How about a Twit with a Face that can write a blog? :) Next big thing...MOBILE!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  21. I'm clueless as to the next big thing...and it makes me sad to think of all the things we are loosing...newspapers...paper books. But I love my blog, enjoy Facebook, ignore Twitter...and marvel of marvel, just found out today that I won an IPad2. I have a feeling that's MY next big thing.

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  22. I just don't know how people have time for Facebook, and Twitter, and blogging! Of course, maybe they don't have a full time day job, or maybe they don't sleep much. The next big thing? I can hardly wait! :)

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  23. So many things come and go. But you know, I was never into MySpace, Twitter or Facebook. I don't even text. Blogger I like, because I've met some groovy folks. Some of which I've become friends with. That's fun.

    Happy Writing, Karen. Hope you have a productive and fun rest of your week.

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  24. I mentioned you in my last blog. Come check it out! :)

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  25. I wish I had the sort of brain to think up a 'next trend'. It takes me long enough to work out what the present trends are all about. I rate Twitter along with blogs. I think the two complement each other. I've met some really lovely people in both places. I also got the commission for my latest book as a direct result of a blog post that I wrote so it's not all social.

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  26. I think Twitter already is the next big thing isn't it? It's referred to as a matter of course in the news over here in the UK, for instance. Hard to see blogging and Facebook being replaced but I think we have to get used to Twitter too ...

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  27. I think the next big thing may be Tumblr. It's like blogging and Facebook on steroids. Still haven't figured it out yet. It's a lot of stuff hitting you all at once. Uber-multitasking.

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  28. Who knows, Twitter is probably already trending down, and of course I just joined in...LOL

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  29. I just watched Julie & Julia the other day (the protagonist is a blogger). I remember watching it for the first time and having no real idea what a "blog" was. Why did people blog? I had no idea. Fast forward a couple of years and here I am talking to my husband all the time about things I read on blogs. Blogger A said this, Blogger B said that--I think it drives him nuts :)

    Fun and thoughtful post!

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  30. Hi Karen .. how about a voice activated encyclopedia .. which is coming I gather .. or Tumblr .. a mini microblogging platform where you can use all sorts ..

    And video - though I'd rather read a post than listen to videos .. but I love the TED talks etc ..

    We live in interesting times ..

    I do think Twitter has a place - and one day I shall get across to use it!

    Cheers .. Hilary

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  31. Great question, and I don't have an answer. I wonder if blogging might stick around because it has more substance to it, than say, Twitter. I guess they both serve different purposes. It'll be interesting to see what's on the horizon, I don't really see it there yet though ...

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  32. Good analogy. I think blogs are here to stay because they are free, face book seems to have more control over content than myspace did or does. Twitter is a mystery to me and I have little time to figure it out. One trend I hope will last are e-books. I think they will just get better.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

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  33. The next big thing will be face to face conversation. My grandaughter age 7 calls it "yakking" and she does it well. Sometimes when I am not paying attention to her say like when I am blogging, she will gently pull my face towards her and tell me "Yaya, I need to yak with you"

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  34. The whole trend thing has me exhausted. Twitter and Facebook and on and on. I can cope with a blog (with pleasure) but I'm not interested in going too far with the others. Unless I get dragged into them somehow but I'm trying my best to avoid that.

    Jai

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  35. I wouldn't care today if Twitter disappeared-- I'm there but it doesn't do much for me. As to Facebook, it's nice to stay in touch with others but more would be nicer.

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  36. The was you described Facebook is the way I feel about Justin Bieber: "It came out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere."

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  37. If I had any idea what the next big thing would be, I'd take advantage of it and make my fortune.

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  38. I love Twitter and actually prefer it over Facebook now so I can see how Facebook could be on the decline.

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