Cade Metz’s article gives us a very comprehensive idea of the Web experience of the future, and the various directions that the Web and new media in general can (and probably will) be moving into. From the “sharing and collaborating” nature of Web 2.0, future Web promises a more immersive experience, where the web does the work for us and the online space is redefined. I would pause at this point and remind myself that Web 2.0 is still developing and evolving as we speak, but that doesn’t mean that future Web hasn’t begun to rear it’s mysterious head. Metaphorically speaking, Web 2.0 is like the hip young yuppie who is trendy and stylish and goes out every weekend to socialise and party (these two may or may not be mutually exclusive). Future Web is like the three-year-old prodigal son who can already play the piano, guitar and drums and makes little colour-coordinated Lego cities complete with an extensive theme park (underwater roller coasters included) and an impressive physical infrastructure to withstand Haitian-sized earthquakes.
Metz talks about the different areas that the Web is developing. There is the Semantic Web, where machines are taught and programmed to think multi-directionally, much like human thought. Essentially, it will produce search results that are most relevant to us (weighing results against our personal preferences, calendars, buying habits etc.). Then there is the proposed 3D Web that allows us to physically be immersed in a virtual world, much like Second Life. The Media-Centric Web proposes to let us search for media with media, rather than keywords. The Pervasive Web is a full integration of the Web and real-life. An example given was how your windows at home could be programmed to respond to weather changes, opening and closing as directed by the Web.
All these Web systems encourage us to think about different modes of using the Web, and of inputting data that can in turn be translated to fit into these new systems. How quickly can this catch on? More importantly, what does this tell us about the state of social media marketing? I think it is safe to say that we can expect the Web experience to be much more personal and intimate, and I should expect that it would come to a point where a brand can literally talk directly to their consumers, as one would with a best gal pal. These new Web systems are already under development and there’s no telling what new technology we are going to be privy to next month, next week, or even tomorrow. New media marketers must therefore allow themselves to imagine the impossible and think laterally. Understand that information is no longer being consumed in a linear top-down fashion, but instead, is a fluid, organic system of give-and-take between media consumers and producers.