It’s been quite a while now since Richie Pettauer announced the World Blogging Forum 2010 in Vienna, Austria and provided the conference topic: „The Future of Digital Media“. Since this topic gives a multitude of opportunities to express my own thoughts on how digital media will develop or evolve in the near future, i want to do just that within this three part series of posts. The second part will cover my thoughts on the development of hardware to access the net, the third part will discuss the topics of social media and blogging.

As this article is to be seen in conjunction with the World Blogging Forum, i’ll use English as the lingua franca for this post, as English will be the main communication language for all participants at the WBF or in the adjacent online discussions. And since this is the case, please accept my apologies, my English got a bit rusty lately. I have disabled comments for all three posts. For discussion of all three articles, please head over to wbf2010.at. I have reopened comments on all the articles again, since WBF2010 has come and gone and centralized discussion is no longer of utmost importance.

Please always read „In my humble opinion“ in front of every sentence.

What is to be defined as digital media?

To talk about digital media is to talk about media in general. Mass media is in the process of being broadcasted digitally only, the internet never new a state other than that of digitality. There never was an analog internet, when you place the beginning of the internet with the development of the TCP/IP network protocol by Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn. All currently deployed analog media will go the way of all media, they recede into history and art. The time, when digital media in everyday life was an exception, is over, the tide has turned, analog media is the exception now.

One could argue, that radio is broadcasted mostly analog and that print media is in itself an analog medium. Well, yes, but radio is in general not more than background noise to replace other background noise with, and print media in it’s classical form is in the midst of becoming fully digitized.

The Internet as Digital Universal Transmission Platform

I always had troubles with coining the term Internet. I therefore have developed an understanding of the term Internet in its broadest possible way: the internet as a digital universal transmission platform based on the aforementioned, name-giving transmission protocol. Using this definition, the term internet remains as open as it should be.

Since all digital data can be transported over the internet, and media in itself has become digital, all media will be transmitted in one way or the other over the internet. Solutions for all media are already in place and highly functional. Internet Radio, the WWW, Video-on-demand boxes like the Roku or AppleTV, Voice-over-IP, you name it. The digitized state of media is currently it’s most desired form, it’s transmission is readily available in rapidly growing bandwidth and the possibilities to consume media, as well as the possibilities to talk about it’s consumption afterwards in forms well dominated by media, are more varied than ever. The ready availability of media is linked desirably to the social wants of humankind.

Gaining access to this platform every time and every place will become ubiquitous in the nearest future not only for western countries. In the wake of the introduction of 4G mobile networks, wireless access will soon take over wired access in importance for every user accessing the net as an individual. I will try to discuss the implications of individualized access points later on.

Edit

I watched Kevin Kelly’s Ted Talk on his predictions for the next 5,000 days worth of internet development again yesterday and i do have to say, that his ideas are sounding very interesting to me, especially regarding his view of the internet as the ultimate machine built by mankind, to which everyone will be connected and therefore everyone will in some sense be part of this machine. He calls this machine simply „The One“ and every device connected to the One a window to the endless possibilities provided by it.