In week 3 of Surviving Disruptive Technologies we turned to printed newspapers and how the Internet has proved to be a disruptive technology.
This is an interesting area as newspapers have been a part of daily life for many years. They can be brought and read by everyone, whether you finished school, hold an PhD, work, study, are unemployed; it doesn’t matter, they are available to all (assuming that you can afford one and that you can read). In fact Jefferson said;
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”
He felt that order to set up and maintain a democracy people had to be educated and literate and newspapers were essential to this.
Not only are people reading the printed press less, advertising revenue is also on the decline, but more importantly future printed press buyers don’t have them in their mind set. If and when they want news they will Google it or go to one of the many on-line content providers. This article in the Economist sums up the situation for the printed press. The future buyers of newspapers are not being cultivated.
For Assignment 3 we have been asked to put forward suggestions for what we think the newspapers can do to halt this decline. Now obviously I am not an industry expert but the question did get me thinking. Should we even try and save the printed press?
According to the latest figures from Ofcom the use of tablets has tripled among 5-15 year olds since 2012, rising from 14% to 42% over that period. While just over a quarter (28%) of infants aged 3-4 now use a tablet computer at home (presumably belonging to their parents). They are the future newspaper readers and for them to do anything on a tablet/internet/smartphone, watch films, play games, learn, read etc, is normal. The act of popping to the shop to buy a paper which then needs to be put in the appropriate recycling bin, would probably seem strange to them.
I used to love buying papers, The Times and Guardian, Sunday Time and the local paper and I was adamant that I would never read a paper or book on a tablet. Now I can’t remember when I last brought a paper (except the Isle of Wight County Press, a local paper, but that doesn’t count!) and I don’t miss it at all (although I have found memories of spending the whole of a Sunday morning with half a rain forest spread out on the table).
There are lots of reasons for this. The waste of paper. The cost. I know they aren’t that expensive but, on the whole, I can get my news for free and that includes flitting between different sources. I think we are also beginning to read differently now. The internet has made us look at more but for less time and we move across and between content quickly and frequently. According to research when we access a newspaper on-line we spend less than 15 minutes reading it. The Sunday Times used to take all morning but I just don’t have the time to do this anymore.
Advertising is a major money maker for the printed press but we can still advertise on-line. The internet has changed marketing too. Sure we can still put an advert in the printed paper but we can also do the same on a digital source. In fact we can advertise our business, services etc for free or cheaply. Just create a FB, G+, Twitter page. You have something to sell just put an ad on e-Bay or similar. Looking for a job or house? There are hundreds of sites to search for free.
I did start this with the aim of finding ideas for ways of saving the printed press but the more I thought about it the less inclined I was to save them (the loss of jobs in the industry would be the only downside but maybe it would just change the jobs people are doing and create other kinds of roles).
I have started a new MOOC called Surviving Disruptive Technologies. I hadn’t planned to do this one but the subject interests me. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I even knew what a Disruptive Technology was or that I used them every day; iDevices, digital camera, the Internet and so on. According to Clayton Christensen a Disruptive technology is a
process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors
This course doesn’t include weekly quizzes like a lot of MOOCS (also a Disruptive Technology) but instead uses weekly assignments. I will be using this blog to post the assignments. The first one is to;
Conduct research on the Internet on innovations, and post your favorite three innovations in the last 25 years and why they are your favorites.
I have to be honest this was not difficult but before I outline mine I had a quick look to see what others thought. This article on Inc. looks at the 12 top Disruptive Technologies as reported by McKinsey Global Institute, I think what amazed me more than the list, no major surprises there, were the predictions . According to McKinsey the total potential impact of these DTs could be between $14 trillion and $33 trillion a year by 2025 so, as we learn in the Surviving Disruptive Technologies MOOC, DTs should not be ignored, underestimated or dismissed as a fad.
For me the first thing that pops into my head when thinking of innovations from the last 25 years is the Internet/wifi. For anyone reading this there is probably no reason to explain why this is one of the top ones. I do feel I should be talking about the invention of a life saving drug or something else that has saved lives or ended poverty. However, I have opted for things that have changed my life and which I use on a regular basis. The internet is definitely the top one. I use it every day to read, keep up to date, make contact, work, study, watch TV, store photos, music and much more.
MOOCs/On-line learning would be my second. I first heard of these about 2 years ago and haven’t looked back. I have taken courses on Greek Mythology, the Holocaust, Art, Education, Psychology and many more. These courses enable me to study things I have always wanted to do but could never afford to or have the time to. They have also allowed me to make friends and connections with people from all over the world.
Google is my final choice (I say final as if that was it. Clearly, I could go on forever but have been limited to three for the purpose of this assignment). I use Gmail, G+ for social networking and email. At work we are also about to transfer to Google which means we will be using it for diary management (I am a PA so this is a big part of the job), email and for managing our website. I was a little concerned about putting all my eggs in one basket but Google is good at what it does so why not.
Here are some links to other important innovations. Which three would you choose?