THERE’s a new report out from technology research firm IDC saying the world is pumping out digital information so fast that we will soon run out of room to store it.
Terms like “exabytes” and “terrabytes” and “zettabytes” are used to describe the looming data deluge.
SiliconValleyWatcher’s Tom Foremski is dubious of the claim that we’ll soon run out of storage space. He makes this point: “Surely, if we can generate it, we are able to store it, because data comes to us from data storage systems…”
Good point. But that doesn’t mean there are no implications for online publishers.
In a world drowning in data, there are three main challenges for information publishers, which includes investor relations departments:
Problem #1: Being found.
With so much new information coming online, publishers and users need ways to ensure that it can be found. For website owners, this increases the importance of meta content, effective navigation schemes, directories, aggregators and in-bound links.
Effective search technologies will grow in importance.
Problem #2: Being consumed.
Just because people can find your information, doesn’t mean they will use it. Don’t forget they now have many more choices and still only the same number of hours in a day.
Publishers will need to optimize their content for rapid consumption. Ease of use becomes critical. Information must be easy to skim, trimmed down to its most useful elements.
Good information design and tight editing will be at a premium.
Problem #3: Being trusted.
With so many new sources of information all competing for attention, it becomes increasingly difficult for publishers to stand out. Being trusted is the key differentiation. People will stay loyal to publishers they trust. Authenticity, transparency and referrals become increasingly vital in this environment.
Of course, none of this should be new to anyone who has been publishing on the Web over the past few years. This is basically what I used to tell people in a short presentation I put together several years ago called Writing for the Web.
Now where did I store that PowerPoint?