A decade in, a decade out

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October 8th, 2010

By Robyn Wisch

How has our technological world changed over the last decade… and what’s in store for the next ten years? The University of Nebraska at Omaha kicked off Omaha 10-10-10 this month. The three-day conference brought together tech savvy experts, online entrepreneurs and academics to study the impact of the technological revolution and make some predictions for what’s to come.

Omaha 10-10-10 was held at UNO Oct. 9-11 (Image courtesy UNO School of Communication)

The lineup of speakers at Omaha 10-10-10 included the founder of the classifieds-style web site Craigslist, backpack journalists from around the country, and several social media experts who spent a full day looking at how Facebook and Twitter have changed the way we interact.  Jeremy Lipschultz is the Director of UNO’s School of Communication and organized the conference. He said a decade ago, there was some idea of the potential of the just-developed world wide web… but how far it would go was beyond anyone’s guess.

“Certainly the whole social media component has burst onto the scene,” he said. “So I think maybe what people underestimated a decade ago is how much people would want to use the internet to re establish a sense of community.”

Social media has re-set the boundaries of our relationships, Lipschultz said, drawing people together from different backgrounds, and letting smaller cities like Omaha connect to the global community. In the next ten years, he said, our world will likely become even more global, and our technology to connect even more seamless. That’s a sure bet, he said. But what’s less clear is whether privacy concerns will drive us toward a more restricted online world.

“I see a lot of tension in the next 10 years between the pressures to try to protect people,” he said, “and the desire I think of people to be as free as they can.” “Somewhere in the middle is clearly a need for people to exercise a sense of social responsibility about themselves and others, but also I think there’s a very strong need for education in media literacy sense.”

Lipschultz said cyberspace should be treated no differently than our geographic world, recognizing that not everyone online is there for a good reason. With that in mind, he said, we can keep our technology free to develop and reach its full potential, whatever that may be.

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