Most print newspapers will disappear in five years. Social media is the future of communication, but more than half of us don’t believe what we read there. Meanwhile, privacy is a lost cause, and we’re paying a high personal price for being connected.
That’s the stark picture painted in a new report by USC’s Annenberg School for Communications & Journalism, which has been studying our digital future for 10 years. While we have virtually unlimited access to information and ability to connect with others, this is creating “extraordinary demands on our time, major concerns about privacy and vital questions about the proliferation of technology,” said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Center for a Digital Future.
Here are the findings that jumped out at me. You can read a full summary here.
Tablets will become our primary tool for personal computing, and it’s happening faster than you think. Annenberg says that over the next three years, the desktop PC will dwindle to only 4-6 percent of computer users, and even laptop use will decline.
You can’t leave the office behind. The study found that there is a greater expectation that we will be at the beck and call of our offices and customers 24/7.
Most print newspapers will be gone in five years. Only the biggest and smallest will survive. Cole predicts that only four major daily newspapers will continue in print form: The New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Ironically, local weeklies may survive.
Privacy? Forget about it. “The issue of privacy is simple – if you go online for anything at all, your privacy is gone,” said Cole. “Americans love that they can buy online, look for information online, and join social communities online. But the price we pay is that we are monitored constantly; private organizations know everything there is to know about us: our interests, our buying preferences, our behavior, and our beliefs.”
The Internet is growing as a political force, but its impact remains fuzzy. The Internet helps us understand politics better, and it helps politicians get their message to us. On the other hand, only 33 percent of us think it’s safe to voice our political views online.