FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

10 Major Trends in the Internet's First 10 Years

The USC Annenberg School's Center for the Digital Future released a report on the top trends wrought by the Internet, titled "10 Years, 10 Trends." The center has been studying the Net since 1994 -- the first year that the Internet was made available to the general public -- and has been tracking Internet use, credibility of content, and the Net's impact on other media ever since. "What will happen as a nation that once spent an extremely large portion of time in a passive activity (watching television) transfers increasingly large portions of that time to an interactive activity (the Internet)?" was one question raised in the center's Year Four assessment of the Internet.

The top 10 future changes take into account the increase in high-speed "always-on" connectivity, the evolution of e-commerce, quality of information, the hype generated by new technologies and services, and downsides such as spam and cybercrime. They won't seem earth-shattering to anyone who has studied the Net and emerging technology, but they're important in the context of this study:

  1. In America, The Digital Divide Is Closing, But Is Not Yet Closed As New Divides Emerge
  2. The Media Habits Of The Nation Have Changed, And Continue To Change
  3. The Credibility Of The Internet Is Dropping
  4. We Have Just Begun to See the Changes to Come in Buying Online
  5. The “Geek-Nerd” Perception Of The Internet Is Dead
  6. Privacy And Security: Concerns Remain, But The High Levels Are Changing
  7. The Internet Has Become The Number One Source For Information For Internet Users
  8. The Benefits – and Drawbacks – Of The Internet For Children Are Still Coming Into Focus
  9. E-mail: “E-Nuff” Already?
  10. Broadband Will Change Everything – Again

Source: unmediated