6 verbs that are shaping the modern Web

Wired‘s co-founder sums up the latest trends in these six terms. Do you agree?


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I came across an interesting article about six verbs for the Web from senior Wired maverick Kevin Kelly.

He discussed these verbs in his opening keynote at the Web 2.0 conference, which he said he believes are the prevailing forces shaping modern Web culture.

They are: screening, interacting, sharing, flowing, accessing, and generating.

Come again? Can you make the connection between these six words and the Web? They’re not more popular words than, say, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Quora, Foursquare, RSS, or blogs. They could be used to describe almost anything.

But therein lies the magic. Allow me to explain.

1. Screening. Twenty or so years ago, the prediction would be that the Web would be like TV with a gazillion channels. But it turns out “they” were wrong. The “screens in our lives are taking the Web everywhere, to the screen in Starbucks, smartphones, tablets, the living room, the workplace, etc.” Kelly predicts one screen could rule us all and that whoever invents it will become really, really wealthy.

2. Interacting. Remember when you saw “Minority Report” and thought it impossible to manipulate images on a computer as Tom Cruise did? Well, it’s here—kind of. Kelly refers to the way we interact with content and how the Web responds by adapting to our behavior. Now it’s possible for app developers to adapt their products and solutions to our emotions and individual needs.

3. Sharing. Everything that can be shared will be shared, and Kelly thinks we’re in the very infancy of this movement as demonstrated by Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. This won’t surprise those who use the social Web every day, but sharing enhances content’s value.

4. Flowing. I think Kelly uses “flowing” instead of “streaming,” with which most of us are familiar. “Streams are everywhere now, on all of those screens in the screening trend. We can watch movies, listen to music, play games, and participate in conversations by tapping into these streams on the Web.”

5. Accessing. We used to own everything. It still kills me that we bought a server (for a lot of money) five years ago, and it’s already obsolete. Now, as long as we can instantly access what we need, we don’t care if we own it. That goes for files, games, movies, books, etc.

Kelly says, “If you can access your collection from anywhere by logging into the cloud, you won’t need to own it. All of the music on the planet can now fit on one six-terabyte hard disk drive in a computer you can buy for $585. But there is no reason to carry it around.”

6. Generating. Anything digital that can be copied will be copied. We can’t prevent it. Sure, we can put in things to monitor how our information is being distributed, but we really can’t prevent people from copying illegally. What you should do is focus on giving users the opportunity to generate their own content so it’s personalized and customized.

A few weeks ago, Paul Sutton asked me where I thought content development and delivery would go, and I told him that we watch the music industry pretty closely. That industry has seen a complete wipeout because of digital piracy, but musicians now can charge more for concerts and can have them more often and in smaller venues, because that experience can’t be replicated or stolen as easily.

Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc. This post originally ran on Spin Sucks.

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