Well, is the Web dead?
Of course, the Web isn't dead, but it is changing in ways that many of us have (sadly) been ignoring. As more and more brands still struggle with the browser-based Web (and this includes everything from website development to social media and e-commerce), the Web as we've known it evolves. It is mobile, it is local, it is app-based and it's going through changes that suddenly make the Facebook/Instagram deal make a little more sense (the future is in the palm of your hands... and not on a fixed screen). I'm also willing to bet that once we get mobile ubiquity (when we're able to do on mobile what we're doing right now with the browser-based Web) that it's going to make our usage (and this includes buying online and social media) look like a joke in terms of usage and consumption.
Here are two pieces of information that will rock your world...
- Will smartphones account for most visits to e-commerce sites by 2014? Here's the news from Internet Retailer: "Of 49.6 billion visits to the top 500 e-retailers in 2014, 26.4 billion, or 53.2%, will stem from smartphones, predicts mobile commerce technology vendor Branding Brand in a new study. There will be 41.0 billion visits to the top 500 e-commerce sites this year, 10.1 billion, or 24.6%, coming from smartphones, the study predicts."
- Instagram Will Take Facebook Into the Mobile Age. From The Daily Beast: "Could Facebook already be in danger of becoming obsolete? Back in 2004, when Zuckerberg hacked together the first version of the site in his dorm room, the world looked very different. Computing centered around PCs. The Internet was all about websites. Then came the iPhone and Android, and today the only reason anyone creates a website is to promote a cool new mobile app. There are a billion smartphones in the world. Soon they will outnumber PCs. Within the next decade, virtually all mobile phones will be smartphones: 6 billion people will have a constant connection to the Internet. Remember the '$100 laptop' that some do-gooders at MIT hoped would change the world? Well, it arrived, as a cool little smartphone with a 4-inch screen."
We are not prepared.
That isn't a statement from a pundit. That is a statement from someone who is pitching new business each and every, single day. The reason we're not prepared has noting to do with screen sizes, connectivity or a highly un-tethered consumer. The reason we're not prepared is because the way people will use, consume, interact and create content is going to change as well. It's one thing to be sitting on a couch and messing around with YouTube, it's a totally different experience when you're watching an online video while you're standing there, holding on to a subway pole on the ride to work. Now, start thinking about media that's more active (Facebook, Twitter, etc...), connecting to people who are closer to you or being fed content that is contextual (based off of what you've done and who you are with plus where you are). It's all starting to get that much more exciting.
It's probably going to happen faster than you expect. It's probably happening right now.