My Thoughts + Writings. Part 4. Trends.

There are so many other trends than the ones talked about in the blog post. These are just the ones that I picked out of my research and meetings with people. I will come back and edit and add to these trends when I come up with another one that is appropriate and relevant to this project.

**If anyone reads this has any other trends or concepts that I should look into, please let me know! I am always looking for input from other people, don't hesitate to leave me a comment with something you think I should look into, or even something that you think I'm completely wrong about. Feedback is always welcome from anyone and everyone.

News Microcycles
This is something new to my vocabulary. It talks about the cycle of how news changes. In a time when we only had newspapers, the cycle was much longer and slower because the stories could only update themselves as the new paper was published either later that same day or the next morning. Once radio, and then television, came into the picture, the news cycle drastically shrank with the immediacy of those two mediums. Breaking news was able to be pushed to the masses much faster when something big happened. Instead of having to wait until the end of the day or the next morning to hear how things had progressed in a story, they only had to wait a few hours. So by the end of the day, the masses' knowledge of goings-on was much more robust and the story completely altered from what it was that morning. Now that the internet is here and almost in every single corner of our worlds, that news cycle has shrunk even farther. Anyone can publish information on news and topics they find intriguing, and they do. Topics and events are reported on so much more in so many different ways that stories and trends get worn out quicker than ever. These cycles have turned into microcycles, and therefore are changing every few days rather than every few weeks.
            This microcycle idea applies to everything online, not just news. I just recently started seeing the "Shit ____ people say" meme and yesterday read an article saying it's already dead and people need to move on. It may have been going on for a while, but it just got big in the public's eye and everyone joined in. Because so many more people joined in, it was seen more often than ever before, which made it overexposed and will inevitably kill it off if it hasn't already.
            This is something that needs to be accounted for, the quickly changing topics, themes, and stories. It's already covered by "trending topics" and other such lists on websites like twitter and news sites. Buzzfeed.com is all about the current trends in social media. It talks about what's being talked about, and only that. If a topic dies in social media, it dies on their website. Up until very recently, the website, for the most part, was more like an aggregator of news and topics. But, they acquired Ben Smith, from Politico, to start writing their own articles on politics. Buzz Feed saw that their model of talking about the current trends was an ideal model to use for politics, especially when everything is exploding about the coming elections. This ever-changing landscape is the base for news sites today. How can that be addressed while keeping everything together and in sync.

Of course social is a huge trend in everything now-a-days and it ain't goin' anywhere. Connecting and sharing with others is what the internet is turning into. People engaging with their family, friends, and followers. But even though this is one of the biggest trends today, it's getting a massive overhaul in the eyes of the masses.
            Sharing is good, but not over sharing. Almost every article on any website now comes with social sharing tools. This is very handy to have to help share news and articles with others, but user have to be careful. Facebook has quickly turned into the over-sharing capital of the internet. Facebook is turning sharing into something so seamless that people don't have to think about it, and it does it automatically. That seamless, automatic sharing turns sharing into white noise that everyone then starts to gloss over. No one actually cares to know every single article their friends on Facebook are reading over on The Times' website. Over-sharing isn't pretty ya'll, those Facebook pictures of you at age 18 holding a half-empty vodka bottle doesn't look too stellar. So, in that same respect, do you really want everyone to know every single article you read?
            It's sometimes smart to keep parts of your life unconnected from the rest. I just read an article over on GOOD about the porn industry. It was a really tasteful and well-written article about the goings-on in the straight porn world. But, except for telling everyone this just now, do I necessarily want that in my Facebook stream, the same one that my possible employers and teachers can see? Yes, it depends on the person, but probably not. Even something as simple as just reading an article about the porn industry can have negative consequences. In a poll about new years resolutions, 18% said that they want to share less via social media. Facebook completely goes against this want, and catapults them in the opposite direction without them even knowing. It's so seamless that many users never realize what's going on until a while later. Not. Good. Ya'll.

Tailorable is where it's at. Let the users choose what content they receive, how things are organized, etc. The more control over the experience they have, the more they will enjoy it, the more they will come back and eventually turn it into a routine/habit.
            Let them customize, but keep the brand shining through. It's good to let people customize their experience, and in some cases completely remove any signs of what it once was, i.e. wordpress, but that's not usually the case. Let the users have control over their experience until a certain point. You still want the brand that you've worked hard on to create to show through. Keep the customizability of the actual design of the program/app/website minimal or restrict it in a way that keeps it inside the design standards you've created.

What is Reliable?
In a world where everyone has the ability to write news and content, the true and reliable news needs to stand out. This can be done in a myriad of ways. Sources, links to well-established companies/organizations, research, etc. Any way to show the user that the content that is there is reliable and true is great. Just make sure it's there.
            Simply having a "nicely designed" website isn't good enough to make it credible.  I could spend the next year creating a bangin' website with an amazing design like no one has ever seen before, but then fill it with a load of bull shit. Good design doesn't mean jack if there are no sources or links to any proof. Showing sources and credibility means absolutely everything in today's world where everyone has turned into a writer and commentator of every little aspect of life.

shortlink: http://ianarthur.info/xGSwNE

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