PREDICTIONS

The reason I chose the song "Come Together" for this project is because I believe all media will synthesize together in the online world. The idea of convergence has been gaining momentum for the past year or so.

I think the main necessity for us to begin to realize the potential of the Internet is faster connection speed. If we move to cable or satellite modems, I think things like real-time video and audio will be taken for granted.

By convergence, I mean that Internet sites will be a combination of media (to a degree they already are) that will incorporate elements from all of the other media we have. No longer will there be such a division between different media organizations. Instead, we will see large media corporations operating within all parameters. News is already becoming a commodity. Rupert Murdoch already refers to what his media companies produce as "the product."

But on the other hand, I don't think this leaves out the little guy. In fact, I think that the Internet empowers individuals in ways never before possible. I think we will see a lot more independent newspapers and magazines produced online by lone operators. While it's true that this helps the so-called lunatic fringe get its message out, it will also allow legitimate individuals with something to say to have an opportunity to say it to as many people as possible. Again, using Carlson's analogy, it is reminiscent of the frontier press of the 19th century. Rugged individualism never had it so good.

Will this be an end to the conventional printed word? I think not. To begin with, it is still print communication - it's just not on paper. But I think even paper media will be with us for a long time to come. But certainly it will change. Just as newspapers recovered from the threat of T.V. news by focusing on what they could do better than T.V., I think the printed media will shift its focus again.

People still like to hold books and magazines in their hands, especially while riding the subway or sitting on a park bench at lunch. Although lap-tops and hand-held computers are on the rise, it will take some time before they are as common as wristwaches.

But I think it will go beyond journalism. What I hope to see in the near future is the total integration of all of our multimedia devices and forms. Why do we have to have separate equipment and lines for our televisions, phones, stereo systems, fax machines, VCRs, etc? I think the media companies of the future will offer us fully synthesized systems that will serve all of those needs and desires, and more.

The idea of answering the phone through your TV screen or watching a movie on your computer sounds futuristic now, but the technology has been around for quite some time. It's just a matter of implementation, which naturally costs money.

INDEX