SxSW: Emerging Social and Technology Trends

by Luke Wroblewski March 10, 2007

The Emerging Social and Technology Trends panel at SxSW2007 discussed the connections between current social mindsets and technological change. In particular, the conversation turned toward a discussion of the changing distinctions behind private and public interactions and information.

  • Technology is driving social change as it is no longer dominated by technical experts
  • Technologies tend not to propagate until society needs it. But there’s been a change as people’s lives have become more bound with devices and personal media.
  • Widgets that get distributed across the entire Web take away the sense of place online. Hooka brings people together though they might be separated by different Web sites.
  • People have a really different sense of privacy today. They are constantly balancing public self & private self
  • Its not just kids, we see the same trend in the business world in how people represent themselves through email, IM (how available are you?), blogs, and more.
  • What are the trends that drove online expression online? Increasing insecurity (environmental and political) in the world may drive people toward “tribes” as they need to feel part of “evangelical” communities that have a strong hero myth and culture. These tribes tie people together.
  • Example: the environmentalist movement brings people together by giving them a shared sense of purpose.
  • Social network growth may be driven by this need for communities driven by social insecurities.
  • We are also seeing an amplification effect of individual voices (because of the size of our network). But that voice might not be the target you want to design for: myopic trends might get amplified.
  • There is an opportunity to help companies create a sense of security through design.
  • Designers believe that the voice of the customer will show them the way. This introduces big changes in how products are developed.
  • Being hackable gives the appearance of being more consumer-friendly. I could do this if I wanted…
  • Businesses interested in economies of augmentation, modification but still hooked on making products disposable. Not open to continuous upgrades.
  • Subversive applications are being developed within “global south”: Africa, South America.