From Social Media to the 3-D Internet: Companies Need to Change Up, Says Former RealNetworks Exec Kelly Jo MacArthur

2/2/10Follow @gthuang

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overlay all these other advances with broadband connectivity and especially mobile connectivity. It was inevitable.

I’m a big believer in the three-dimensional Internet. I think we’re going to continue to see the Internet become even more humanized, and I mean that in a way that allows us to engage our humanity more deeply versus taking it away. People worry about things like artificial intelligence, people often fear that without understanding what it means. I think we’re going to find the technology available to us, and the rapid implementation and the fact that we can create our own networks—it’s going to continue to explode at this pace, and we’re going to be able to do things because of the three-dimensional capabilities that are getting overlaid onto the network, that will have a huge impact on our ability to collectively solve problems.

X: What do you mean by “three–dimensional” Internet? Can you give an example?

KJM: A lot of companies like IBM and Cisco are working on these kinds of applications all the time, building within the network the ability to handle more three-dimensional capabilities where it’s a much more immersive experience. You can imagine situations like meetings in a three-dimensional capacity where you’re not just communicating through a video conference where you’re sharing a document, but you actually have a sense of physical presence in an environment, where you can all collectively look at a document on a screen—not on the computer screen, but on a whiteboard in your room. Its impact on education has great potential. We’re seeing successful adoption in education, medical research, surgery, and remote operations.

What we’re seeing in social networks is a very natural evolution, and all industries need to think about where we are in society, versus what new tool we’ll see next. I think Facebook and Twitter will both be very successful. I think we’ll see continued evolution of currencies and other mediums of exchange to facilitate transactions [like micropayments and virtual currencies]. We can create real value in virtual currencies. Not as “pretend” things—just like a digital product can have real value in someone’s life. And as all of this continues to converge because of mobility, I think we’ll continue to make it all easier.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://www.dailygrommet.com Jules Pieri

    Kelly is spot on. I particularly like the way she emphasizes the power of people as citizens and consumers, and how it is vastly enhanced via social media.

    Her analysis goes beyond the blunt and obvious “Now people can broadcast their complaints” assessment of social media impact. Instead, she seems to understand that this media gives companies a chance to let people actually form their very offering. Their core value. We are doing this at Daily Grommet, via “Citizen Commerce” but we have the luxury of forming a business around that central notion of asking people create our business with us, in creating a participative commerce experience. But it is SO much harder for a big company to backfill with this kind of participation and sheer personal touch.

    I would be interested to hear Kelly’s POV on the relative balancing of power between small and large business now. I argue that social media levels the playing field and that small is a huge advantage. I think the days of nameless/faceless business are over. Social media takes us back to the notion of living in a village where you know who made your bread and forged your horsehoes.