|Gen C illustration from Google Think|
Here is a link to the report as a .pdf
I'm not sure we're quite ready for yet another "Gen (insert letter of choice here,)" but the 4 Cs do capture a lot of what seems to be going on in our use of technology and our consumption of content.
Synchronous content consumption and communication: in decline or on the way out?
This made me think a little more deeply about a couple of related artifacts of daily life I've noticed lately, and they both deal with synchronicity:
- The days of consuming content in a synchronous fashion, like tuning in to a network broadcast of a sitcom every week at the same time, seem terribly old fashioned now. It's much more "at the time, in the place, and on the device I choose." Have you also noticed the growth of chunking out time and consuming TV series in multiple episodes all at once?
This does not portend well for TV networks, cable companies, and satellite providers, but it fits in perfectly with the idea of the stateless future, in which we've blown apart the old links that tied content to specific storage, delivery, and consumption mechanisms. There is probably collateral damage to in-theater movie viewing as well; when you can see a movie in HD at home on a big screen with excellent surround sound, streamed on the internet at the time of your choice, that has become a highly-viable option compared with the big screen (and social) experience at the theater.
Asynchronous content consumption is yet one more sign that business models built on tight links between content, delivery, and consumption are in danger. If they don't change to accommodate this emerging reality, their days are likely numbered.
- There is a new mode of personal communication I see more and more often Instead of purely synchronous, like a phone call or video conference that happens in real time, or asynchronous, like e-mail, but near-synchronous. This is the text message effect: "I will answer you quickly, but don't interrupt me without notice for a phone call." I find myself resenting phone calls that come in unannounced, and cautious about initiating one myself without texting first to check "is this a good time to talk."
We are more connected than ever before, but also seem to demand a greater level of control in just how we divide our time among the screens, keyboards, and speakers of our daily lives. The "I am multitasking and will get back to you soon" near synchronous effect could be our means of handling those demands.