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Oh no, is this the end of Homestar Runner? No! Just an April Fool's Day joke. Thank heavens!

Oh no, is this the end of Homestar Runner? No! Just an April Fool's Day joke. Thank heavens!

They say that all good things must come to an end. You were probably worried that this applied to the Tues News since we took a week off, weren’t you? Well, maybe not. Anyway, the predictions associated with endings are often a bit exaggerated. According to different groups of doomsayers, we were supposed to run out of oil by now, computers should have already turned on their human masters and the four horsemen of the apocalypse should have begun their terrible ride. Sometimes predictions can be right on, sometimes they can be a little hasty. What’s always true is that bold prophecies about the “end of _____” are always entertaining, if not a little foreboding.

This week, on the Tues News, I’m bringing to light three interesting theories about “the end” of various things that we have become very accustom to. Without further ado, let’s get going!

  • The End of Books: Books have been under attack since their inception. They have had to survive difficult manufacturing processes, widespread illiteracy, the advent of the radio, motion pictures, television and the Internet, the rise of e-readers and many other signs of the bookpocalypse. Of course, books have proven to be natural survivors. Well, according to author and columnist, Paul Carr, the iPad will represent the final nail in the coffin for books. It’s not that it’s a better e-reader, he argues, it isn’t. It’s just that who would want to read a book (on paper or e-ink) when they can browse Internet, listen to music, do work, watch movies and more all on the same beautiful device? It’s a good argument, certainly, but it’s hard to argue with the millennia-long track record of books. I think that the iPad may reduce the number of bus/train/plane passengers that turn to books to pass the time, however, I can’t imagine a world in which books disappear entirely. That doesn’t make Carr wrong, it just means that I’m not as pessimistic that the iPad is a book-killer as he is. [TechCrunch]
  • The End of the Internet: Okay, this one isn’t really true. Mary Meeker, Internet analyst for Morgan Stanley, makes an argument that the mobile Internet will soon overtake the fixed Internet in terms of users and use. This is hardly a startling revelation; Google has been betting on this as well and their purchases of AdMob and, more recently, Plink are proof. The reason that I brought this up is because I don’t believe in the idea of “mobile overtaking fixed.” Conceptually, I think it’s an antiquated way of looking at the trends. “Mobile” and “fixed” shouldn’t be seen as diametric ways of viewing online material but rather, as points along a spectrum. The laptop, after all, is a somewhat mobile device. A netbook is even more mobile. An iPad or tablet PC takes it a step further and mobile phones represent the most portable Internet devices to date. Currently, the experience on a mobile phone is very different than the experience on a laptop and what Meeker seems to suggest is that the mobile experience will improve and the user base will expand. She’s much smarter than I but I would still offer my own prediction for consideration. It is my belief that the gap between the fixed and mobile Internet experience will begin to disappear. It is of high value to the producers of online material to try and make the experience on an iPhone as versatile and rewarding for the user as on a desktop. The key to achieving this, in my opinion, is not looking at two different types of user (i.e. mobile and fixed), it’s assimilating the fixed and mobile users into a uniform experience with the help of browser, device and software improvements. After all, fixed and mobile users are often the same people just at different points in place and time. The Internet will remain the Internet; the line between how it is accessed, though, will begin to blur. [GigaOM]
  • The End of TV Advertising: Seth Stevenson over at Slate demonstrates in the video below how easy it is to run a real-life ad on a real-life television station and how to do it on the cheap. Using Google TV Ads, he skirts the traditional obstacles of television advertising such as cost, production value and dealing with the network in order to get his blog a platform on the unlikeliest of venues: reruns of the Glen Beck Show. Stevenson specifically says that no, this is not the end of television advertising–we won’t be seeing an ad during the Super Bowl posted through such means any time soon–but it is a healthy strike for more egalitarianism in an industry that has always had difficult barriers to entry. In actuality, this could be a boon for the medium of TV ads; it’s probably just not a great harbinger for television ad agencies in the short run. In the long run, though, increased interest from a larger base of advertisers in the medium could end up being a good thing for them. We’ll just have to wait and see! [Gawker]

It is said that all good things must come to an end and it is often true. What’s not so inevitable, though, is how the endings play out. If books become entirely digitized and the paper versions cease to be, does that mean that books have died? Will there not still be a demand for 300-page tomes with a beginning, middle, end, character development, storyline, rising action, falling action, denouement and literary devices? I doubt it. I also don’t believe that the Internet or television ads are going anywhere. They will simply evolve. After all, the Age of the Dinosaurs may have come to an end 65 million years ago, however, dinosaurs are still all around us in the form of their feathery descendants: birds.

The “end of _____” is simply one rather pessimistic way of thinking about ongoing progressions in the ever-changing landscape that we inhabit.

Thanks for stopping by. Read up on and keep up with the online world; keep reading Tues News! Catch ya later!

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