Saturday, September 06, 2008

Real World

Offline is the new Online, or so I've read, and quite frankly I'm not surprised by this "trend." In the last month, I have spent both more time online and more time offline than I can remember in the recent past. That is to say, while in NYC I usually had a browser open while sitting on the couch and was consuming the internet passively (facebook updates, blogs, nyt.com 15x a day). Since moving, I've jumped online for specific things to go do offline (information about sights, travel planning, finding people to watch football with etc).

This step from passive to active has also caught my attention in a few other areas. Much like the trend mentioned, MeetUp has released an ad that is encouraging people to get out and do stuff (well "MeetUp" specifically - which by the way they charge for the postings). I've also seen repeated pleas in the past few weeks for people to comment on blogs - the feedback loop is nice for the authors, but again the emphasis on being an active participant rather than a passive consumer.

For a while I've been of the opinion that the next big thing (if I can use an overused phrase) will be bridging the gap from On to Off. Companies that manage to do that, will become more robust enterprises than the web services we see at the moment. When someone has something tangible (or a way to share something tangible) they derive more value from it and therefore are willing to pay for it - hence why MeetUp is one of the few services able to charge a fee.

But more important than what trend comes next, is the realization by my generation that there is more to do than sit back and passively observe what goes on around you. We have been criticized as not caring, or too self-involved to notice, but it seems we may be at the point where we are ready to engage. So, most of you will be reading this on a Saturday morning, go do something with you day and with those around you.

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