What a year. It wasn’t only the arrival of the first iPhone. 2007 also saw the introduction of the first Kindle. Facebook opened up for the first time to anyone with an email account (and “fake news” was not “big news”). Twitter came to life in 2007. It was a “micro-blogging service” to basically tell your friends what you had for breakfast — a far cry from the media-upending service that it is today (specially when used judiciously by American presidents).
From a technology point of view, it was the coming together of 3G networds, Location Based Services as well as a more (or less) reliable bluetooth.
In other words, this perfect storm of introductions was the beginning of “Web 2.0”. We became “Always On and Always Trackable”, and this formed the basis of what was later termed “the Digital Revolution”. Very quickly many services followed that continued to disrupt our lives in an insidious manner.
2008 saw the emergence of AirBnB, followed by Uber in 2009 and Instagram in 2010. Can we imagine our lives without these services? The 2008 Obama campaign was the first to use social media for support and as a crowd-funding mechanism, leveraging the “long tail” to circumvent the limits of individual contributions. It’s been 10 years only, and yet our lives have changed beyond recognition.
Digital Technology has radically altered the way we interact with each other as well as with brands. It has given users unprecedented powers of influence, changed the very concept of a product, with instant gratification now expected for our music, movies and books. It has brought together suppliers and consumers in a direct fashion, cutting intermediaries, and has given rise to the “shared economy” (otherwise known as “uberisation”), jumbling the relationship between employer and employee. All of which is raising new, hitherto unheard of questions that the Law is struggling to keep up with, questions around Privacy, Copyright and Trade.
It’s only been 10 years. And it’s only the beginning. Happy Anniversary.