Understanding change and the best example in the Internet Industry December 22, 2007Posted by alwilliams in Uncategorized.
In thinking about what critical event has had the largest influence on my Industry I was drawn back into the debate of what a critical event actually was and indeed if this was relevant at all.
To be clear I believe that a critical event is something that attracts significant attention and debate. It also occurs over a relatively small time frame (relevant to how long the industry has been around) and causes a shift in attitudes or behaviour of the majority of practitioners of that industry.
I will not go into debating this definition, but for me there has not particularly been an event like this in the digital marketing field, as the events (as Deb reinforces in her topic) that have occurred in this field have been evolutionary. I will therefore refer to this as a “critical shift”. This obviously does not mean they have had any lesser an effect however and brings me to my critical shift.
The mass adoption and development of Flash:
To start things off this change is pertinent to me as Habbo is built in Flash and Shockwave, without which I would not have this job. 96% of browsers have Flash installed and this is the largest adoption of any web application.
The implications of Flash’s use on the Internet is that marketers have always strived to ‘break through clutter’ and ‘engage the audience’. Flash can facilitate this as it allows creatives to develop interactive Adverts as well as microsites and whole applications to communicate with their target audience. Virtual worlds like Habbo and Taatu are written in Shockwave, but also require Flash functionality.
“As an industry, publishers, advertisers, and their agencies rely on the ongoing evolution and improvement in the tools and solutions we use every day to present compelling interactive advertising to consumers,”
– Greg Stuart, president and CEO, Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Not only that but Flash is arguably driving forward the development of the Internet itself as it can be used to create or enhance Web 2.0 sites with greater rich media than was possible before. e.g. http://turfwars.needforspeedcarbon.co.uk/. This can never be more true today with the rise of mobile Internet and the demand for Flash content on the move. Indeed Flash Lite is already being added as standard to Nokia mobile phones which account for a majority share of distribution. The next version of Flash Lite in 2008 will have FLV file compatibility, which means that you can watch Flash videos from your mobile with its Internet connection. This is more what WAP was designed for rather than static news and one way communication as was common in 2000. Again this refers to the above definition that the rise of Flash has been more of a critical shift over time, which is now influencing two key technologies (computer and mobile Internet). “Critical shift” is all relative, but I would say that for the Internet Industry and into the future Flash will provide the rich media desired by the market.
I think it is pretty good, although there is always the danger that when something becomes too prevalent that it ends up stifling creativity. There is an issue in the Open Source community (who create programs and languages that are free to use by anyone) that the mass use of proprietry software will mean that all websites (and thus the Internet) will be at the mercy of yet another corporation, where they will end up governing web standards and what is possible.
I don’t think this will happen though as Macromedia allows tools to be built on to their own development programs, which essentially is keeping it customisable (although granted I do not know too much about the technical side of the debate). Certainly allowing people to create “plug-ins” or “add ons” has been of value in the Industry (look at the proliferation of AJAX in providing widgets) and an open internet where accessibility is the key has been of most appeal to the market throughout the Internet’s history (think of AOL’s attempt at a walled garden). I know that Habbo has changed or re purposed the Flash coding slightly to their own needs and this has increased the stability for the product.