[From the LA Series by Gabi Torres]
GLOBAL-LOCAL / COLLECTIVE POWER / REVOLUTION / DIGITAL CONVERGENCE / BIG DATA
Last year in my “The World in 2011” post, I wrote about the importance of knowing the context of your work – both in terms of its visual aesthetics and in the pragmatic doctrine of business development. As a creative, reading The Economist’s The World In might seem a little daunting and difficult to find which context it relates to your work, however between the lines of fiscal forecasts and political prowess, there’s a lot to be discovered.
In 2011, there was a lot of talk about decentralisation; seeing communities outside of our capitals flourishing as we learn to work and look to a more localised environment. This decentralisation also suggested a greater forging of working networks built upon digital communications rather than inside a hierarchical office space and for many people, this has become a reality in 2011. What’s interesting is how this will further snowball into 2012 where this localised, connected working brings Global, Local. Small communities or organisations can offer their services from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world. Although this has been the case since the dawn of the internet, the reality of slow dial-up and distrust in digital prevented it from being a structure of working adopted by the masses. Now, with the everyday integration of digital and faster internet speeds we can choose to work remotely. Global-local is about being part of a community and bringing that community to the global landscape – invigorating and innovating through social and political change; allowing the global population to converse with a small community and vice versa.
As any small business owner, this technological advancement and trend is something to pay huge attention to. What is your digital presence? Who are you speaking to and how? There is nothing stopping you using the internet as a resource to scout your next job or client, but likewise, it is ever-more becoming their go-to place to find you. In a survey by PhotoShelter, they found that 61% of all Art Buyers search the web for images, not photographers – therefore if your images aren’t key-worded properly… How are they going to find you?
Collective Power and Revolution are also key terms for 2012, riding off the back of 2011′s Arab Spring and Occupy movement. There seems no doubt that with the economic downturn and such fiercely strong examples of successful uprising, 2012 and the next coming years we will demand justice more than ever in all aspects of our lives; from our political systems to our working lives. Moreover, a Millennial workforce will find its own strength in numbers – each one looking for companies to be more ethically and morally viable than ever before. 2012, in this sense, is a year of the fierce and fresh-eyed entrepreneur – a strong and determined character who promotes evolution and growth. (Side note: By coincidence or otherwise, 2012 is also the year of The Dragon according to the Chinese calendar).
A re-ignited desire for change can be the key ingredient to inspire a tired, recession-minded workforce. However, as always with change, it is often hard to accept and will need tried and tested statistical, results-driven analysis in order to live up to its expectations. The emergence of complex new technologies throughout 2010 and 2011 led to the rebirth of the info-graphic - one of my recent favourites being ‘A History of Disruptive Innovations in B2B Marketing‘ by Jess3. Though these new mediums for visualising complex systems are barely the icing on the cake when it comes to the future of our data. Info-graphics can illustrate the paths of your online social networking – where you met Joe Bloggs and exactly how many interactions you’ve been having with him… and where – but 2012 is the year of Big Data. Looking beyond the micro-lens of online networking and expanding to entire populations – counties, communities, cities. If you could map the travel routes of everyone in a city, could you design a more efficient public transport system? For many, big data has been an inaccessible resource which has been hard to analyse and, therefore, utilise due to the ability to process its volume. Though, with the spread of cloud computing, open source and transparent online databases, data that would otherwise have been hard to navigate can become more resourceful than ever. Subsequently, this year also sees the launch of the UK’s first Open Data Cities Conference in Brighton.
In the photographic community, the changes to our online landscape will directly affect how business is run and moreover, money is made. The faster the digital world progresses the easier it will become to access image makers, outsource the competition and lose track of how many times your photographs have been reblogged (especially on Tumblr). If you watermark your images straight through the centre, are people going to be putting them on their Pinterest pin boards? Is your work going to get noticed? But in the same take, if you don’t watermark are you going to find your images appropriated by other cyber-beings? How are you going to prove to agencies that it’s still worth the rates you want to charge? – Show them the data? Or are you going to be a part of your own revolution and find a new way to stay ahead?
If you have any questions, answers or queries to any of the topics raised in this post, I’d love to hear from you: email@example.com.