This Big City

Thoughts from the Wired Intelligence Briefing | October 1, 2009

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The first Wired Intelligence Briefing, described as ‘a creative platform for smart, disruptive thinking’, was held today at The Royal Institution in London . Although most topics discussed weren’t genuinely ‘disruptive’, smart ideas and analysis were there in abundance.

‘The internet is the air around us.’ – Tom Loosemore

Most discussions centered on the increasing prominence of the internet in our lives due to super-fast broadband, 3G phones, and Augmented Reality applications. It was predicted that as the internet becomes integral to our interactions, a generally accepted online etiquette will begin to emerge with 5 clear rules:

  1. Always credit the work or links of others.
  2. Always be respectful, even in disagreement.
  3. Companies cannot pose as customers.
  4. You can ignore friend requests.
  5. Privacy must always be respected.

A quick check on almost any YouTube video, community edited reviews site, or social networking profile will show you that these rules are not currently being obeyed online, though it is worth remembering how ‘new’ the internet really is, and how long changes in social behaviours can take to form.

93% of Wired readers believe that businesses will not know how to thrive in the era of social networking, and 90% believe that British authorities will struggle to regulate the media being consumed by its citizens as we enter a permanently online world.

However, even in this online world, it was interesting to see that only 3% of Wired readers thought they could not manage without email, and 43% thought that Twitter is ‘a senseless waste of human life’. Citing massive viewing figures for shows like The X Factor, and Strictly Come Dancing, it was suggested that shared events are becoming increasingly important.

With Rupert Murdoch’s desire to move his online news services to a fee-based model, the future of free content online was discussed. Jessica Greenwood of Contagious Magazine suggested that charging for news might result in a ‘re-evaluation of what we consider real news’ and an increase in the quality of online journalism.

And despite a majority of Wired readers claiming they are prepared to illegally access online content, 84% said they are willing to pay provided content is affordable and accessible.

The overall tone of the event was positive, mirroring the 94% of Wired readers who are optimistic about the impact of technology on global society over the next 5 years. It was suggested that online activism would revive the general public’s interest in politics, and could potentially empower communities. 70% of Wired readers agree that the next successful brand launch will be created by a community of passionate users.

And despite exploring the potential of our online future, as we left we were presented with information and articles from Wired magazine, printed on good old-fashioned newsprint.

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About author

Joe Peach is an Artist and Designer based in London, UK. At present, he is studying Sustainable Communities and the Creative Economy at Postgraduate level in Kingston University.

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