As a blogger, and a very opinionated one at that, I’ve been pretty bullish on the future of blogging. However, a series of events in the last few months have gotten me on edge about the future of blogging as we know it. I think changes will take place in 2010 which has the potential to give a second wind to traditional publishers and could threaten some blogs.
The thing which really got me thinking was the following video which was released by Sports Illustrated. Please watch it all:
Lest you think this is some pie in the sky mockup that doesn’t exist, take a look at the video from TechCrunch where one of their editors got to try out the already functioning Sports Illustrated app. This already exists….right now….today.
Time, Inc. is working on this for ALL of their publications. So is Condé Nast. I’m sure there are people working on this at National Geographic too.
Why does this worry me? 1) The touch based tablet experience seems overwhelmingly better than the similar experience you can get from a normal browser for digesting most content. It has all the benefits of a traditional magazine with all the benefits of being on a computer. 2) I can’t do that. As of today in 2009 as one guy by himself working on a blog, there is no way I could produce a similar experience. Layout and design are core competencies of magazines and newspapers. It is not a strength of bloggers and certainly not a strength of mine.
Oh, and it looks like Apple might be announcing the long rumored tablet on January 26. Throw in the Kindle, the Barnes & Nobel reader, a real Windows tablet, and the JooJoo on top of that, and this stuff is going to happen and it is going to start happening in 2010.
I don’t think blogs will die and I don’t think that this is the salvation of traditional media, but it is something seriously think about. Improved user experience will play up to the strengths of media companies who have larger staffs and decades of experience with print layout. I’d pay money for National Geographic made for a tablet. I’m sure others would as well.
Rumor is that Apple has been talking to big publishers so they have content ready for the launch of the tablet. These will probably be sold through the iTunes store.
My advice is to starting thinking about you can do to adapt to tablet world. There isn’t much action you can take yet. Some blogs may not have to do anything. Some will be able to really shine. As a travel blogger who is heavy into photography this has me worried and excited at the same time. I think the potential for what I could do with a table is enormous, but there are no tools that exist yet to let me do it. (…or tablets for that matter)
My gut says an Apple tablet will be huge and spawn a bunch of imitators, but this whole post could equally look stupid within a year. We’ll have to wait and see.
Summary: The road between here and the future is long and winding. Old media isn’t going to go down without a fight, and just because something worked in 2009 doesn’t mean it will work in 2019. Start thinking now about changes that might be coming down the pipe and you won’t be caught with your pants down if they happen.