Ed:Blog

by , Sep 12, 2011, 3:26 PM
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Jonathan McEwanHyperconnectivity. It's not in the dictionary. Yet. But it's all over the Internet. Plug the word into Google and it returns 46,400 results, the first from Wikipedia with a warning that the topic itself "may not meet the general notability guideline." Google's 46,400 results beg to differ. Warning or not, the entry credits Canadian social scientists Anabel Quan-Haase and Barry Wellman with coining the term in reference to "person-to-person and person-to-machine communication in networked organizations and networked societies." In other words, people who communicate through a variety of electronic means, such as email, IM, SMS and on the phone, are hyperconnected. All well and good until you add smartphones to the mix and hyperconnectivity becomes more personal and constant. It's not a one-way phenomenon, either: it feeds both ways, out to other people and machines and back again. Say something to one, and the others hear it. Slight one, and the others stop doing business with you.

Science fiction is rife with examples of this concept, from Asimov's Foundation Series' Gaia to Star Trek's infamous Borg. The whole thing smacks of assimilation. Resistance is futile. Full disclosure: I am one with the machine. I've had an iPhone at the ready reach since 2007. I'm on Facebook and I have a host of apps that do everything from order pizza to post updates to my Twitter feed. I've got the whole world in my hand. And it has me. Through my phone it tracks my every move, records my every desire, whether fulfilled or merely sought. And no doubt somewhere there is a file containing the collection of data that is Jonathan McEwan - and how to market to him.

If the smartphone is the key to hyperconnectivity, then it should come as no surprise that smartphone adoption is on the rise: today 38 percent of U.S. mobile phone customers carry a smartphone, and that number is expected to surpass 50 percent by year's end, according to Nielsen.

This issue of OMMA attempts to paint a portrait of what this brave new hyperconnected world might look like, and moreover how marketing and business models will have to adapt. Google Fiber has announced plans to wire Kansas City with Wi-Fi up to 100 times as fast as typical broadband. Liz Tascio takes a closer look at the consequences for kc, local businesses and our future. Josh Lovison examines the Web itself and what it means for all media in our hyperconnected age.   Despite hyperconnectivity's obvious charms, not everybody wants it. There are always the anti-establishment types who resist any trend. Douglas Quenqua tallies up the pluses and minuses of being hypoconnected. And if that's not enough, Larry Dobrow weaves a cautionary tale about how being too connected ruined his life.

At OMMA we like to think we're pretty hooked up, too. We always like to hear what you think about the magazine, hyperconnectivity or other issues out there. Feel free to drop me a line at  jonnymack@mediapost.com.

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