In the last 5 years communication has gone from being massively dominated by e-mail, phones, IM and snail mail to nearly doubling the number of ways to communicate.
You can quibble with me about when this stuff actually started changing, but certain the last 5 years has seen a massive liftoff in at least 4 new areas of communication.
- Social Networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Microblogging (Twitter, Facebook status updates, etc.)
- Virtual Worlds (World of Warcraft, Second Life, etc.)
- Video Chat (Skype, Google Talk, etc.)
Each of these seems—at least to me—to be exploring a new set of trade-offs in how we communicate with each other. It’s interesting to stare at them, squint and turn your head sideways to try and see how things are shaping up and what’s going to drop out of it all.
This is especially interesting given the recent demo of Google Wave which claims to be the future of all communication, and while it seems to combine, blur and facilitate a lot of the previously mentioned pieces. It’s not clear to me that this is the correct re-consolidation of communication, though it’s certainly a good first step.