We have to face the fact that the Cloud is where we will store our publicness, our legacy is going to live on forever, not through people, but through Kilobytes cached on servers all over the world. The Cloud is a fact of life, it is only going to grow up and be another reservoir of data, a deep well of information, unlike anything we’ve know to date. You think Wikipedia is awesome, wait till the Cloud matures. The Cloud is not connected computers in a closed network, they are outside, and can connect to any computing device.

Microsoft offers 25GB on Windows LIVE SkyDrive, Online Storage, Google allows you to run your entire business on their servers and with their services. I shared that this was going to happen in 2001 at a conference, I spoke to 500 I.T. Leaders, and they all said I was crazy, it will never happen. Businesses won’t stand for it, people won’t use it! As you can see they didn’t have the foresight an I.T. leader should have, they were closed minded executives, imagine that.

Everything is moving to the cloud for many, many reasons. Business is becoming more social and mobile, and the requires the cloud for that kind of environment to work properly. Location-based services are a perfect fit for the cloud, so going mobile means going to the cloud.

In a previous post I talked about the shift, we’re going from pages to streams, from PCs to the Cloud, Today to NOW, from Me to We, and Items to Data. Where everything will generate a stream everywhere. The cloud is full of storage, full of streams, and filled with the new oil, DATA!

The best way to take advantage of the cloud is to make everything in your business mobile, the cloud lets you access your data and the rest of the worlds data on the fly. Every business will become a platform to use, not unlike Google or Microsoft, people always come back to places they find useful. You can even build your own cloud, well sort of, you can connect an external drive to your router that is accessible from anywhere in the world. That in essence is a cloud, your external drive is where you store everything, so no matter where you are, you can reach your data, but the other options are better.

Almost all major technology corps are offering some form of cloud computing, even though the question of security is still on the table. Security is always going to be a problem, as long as there is humans on this planet, security will be paramount. Having said that, many are clamoring to put their data on the cloud, it just makes good sense for those who work from home / travel most of the time.

The jury is still out on who offers the best solution and I’m not sure it will matter if there is some kind of standard in this environment. Considering the security issue, will you put your data out there, Google has most if not all that you do on the NET anyway. The Cloud opens up new business models based on access, more so than today.

On a different perspective, when clicking the Like Button or Follow, to get access, the dollar value assigned to Likes & Follows will create a whole new metric to measure, one more thing to track, will all cloud environments or storage devices require engagement or just a Like or a Follow.

How will your business use the cloud?

The Internet has changed how we view our world, it has changed how we spend our time and our money, and it has most definitely changed the way we do business. The future of business is getting more and more sci-fi, it’s hard to compute (no pun intended), but we are headed to a world we used to watch in movies.

Get ready for Facebook‘s virtual currency, Facebook Credits, will become the official coin of the realm beginning July 1, 2011. Imagine that, being able to purchase products and services with Twitter and FaceBook Credits, next you will be able to pay your mortgage with those credits. I’m all for that. In fact, in November 2010 The Dallas Mavericks Basketball team offered Free FaceBook Credits for Twitter Followers. Soon you and I will be able to make direct deposits to our bank accounts without ever having to go there, you will do it on your mobile device anytime, anywhere. Payroll direct deposit is archaic compared to the swipe technology of today. You will also make most of your purchase with this swipe technology on your smart-phone, it is predict 60% of all commerce will be done in this fashion.

The real future of business will be Virtual Reality and Hologram technology, but that technology is still developing, we will shop in our homes and never have to go out into the masses of people. Imagine being able to try on clothes without ever actually having to try on clothes, say what! Social Networks will handle all the market research, the data will be staggering, there’s a business to start, organize all that data and sell it back to the business sector. eMarketer has a similar model, they are a great resource but, you better have some coin to get the real valuable data. As Gerd Leonhard of The Futures Agency says, Data is the New Oil.

We are moving to a place where you can’t hide, you can’t lie, and you can’t have a bad product or service if you want to survive in this new business landscape. The world is becoming more and more mobile and social, that’s a hot tip for you right there.

So how do you succeed in the future of business? At a high level it’s simple really, grow bigger ears, get very mobile and social, and above all else, engage with the people formerly known as consumers, it’s not business as usual kids, pay attention. The business landscape is getting more open & free, that’s the business model, Open & Free. It’s an access first society, people want access more than they ever want to be sold and forced to pay upfront. Figure out how to give people access, and you will find the revenue follows, the toll booth is no longer at the front gate, it should be almost invisible and seamless.

Would you make purchase with Twitter and FaceBook Credits?

One of the futurists I was following tweeted something that spurred me to write this little bitty, so bare with me. There is much confusion about Social Media / Networks, and saying that the future of business is Social Networks only adds to that confusion. For some unknown reason, there are far too many who seem to think that Social Media is the answer, the messiah, the silver bullet to all their business problems. STOP IT! This is far from the truth, and is sheer stupidity on the part of those who say it is.

I’ve talked about the next generation a few times now, GEN C, they are the under 20 somethings and they are starting to figure out what they want, and it’s not what business owners want. In fact, the generation that comes behind them will never know what a Tower or laptop is or was. imagine a generation that only knows wireless handheld devices, may never know what a Newspaper was, let alone a fax machine. They will all be things placed in a Smithsonian in some major cities if they can afford to have the show in town.

If you are paying attention to these social networks, and those who have built them, they are shifting and flowing, not because they work well, but because the people in those environments are looking for something. The future of business will be dependant on a couple of things, social networks are one of the tools to obtain those things, but not the end all. Being tagged will be paramount to being found in the future, your brand / product or service will live and die by being found. That being found will need to be everywhere, not just in social networks!

To found on the Internet will be one of the many challenges to deal with in the next 2 – 3 years. As with everything, the cream will rise to the top, the have’s over the have nots will continue as it does in the bricks & mortar business world. The big difference will be the tools or mediums you use, and how you use them that will matter, and should be well thought out. In the bricks & mortar we just yelled, and the loudest business got the attention, not so in the future, and social networks will play a minor role. Attention is the new currency, data is the new oil, and the combination of those two will present a whole new way of doing business in the near future. The problem is, the data is not fully understood, the technology we need is still not ready, it’s not ready because we don’t know what problem needs solving yet. Much of what we are relying on in social networks, hasn’t happened yet.

The future of business will be social, and it will most definitely be mobile, but it won’t be social networks that are the future. The real future of business is because we are connected, on the move, regrouping on the fly, unable to be controlled by anything or anyone, including social networks. A connected world cannot be controlled, it might be seduced, but only temporarily, and that is what big business and corporations are afraid of, they can’t control you & I.

Consider this, there will be another 3 Billion users of the Internet in the next 2 – 3 year, 5 at the most, are you in a position to get they’re attention online? Do you have a strategy or a plan to capture .01 % of that potential revenue? I can’t wait to see what new ways of increasing the new currency of attention, I’m ready, I’m more than ready, I’m down right excited. But if you’re still trying to figure out how to use social media networks, how to use a blog or a website, you better hire someone tomorrow to help you see whats coming. They can at least help you see the tidal wave and show you how to ride that wave rather than get wiped out by it.

That’s what we do here, we show you the future, and then help you create ideas to adopt what we show you. We are in the beginning of an upsetting industrial shift, a paradigm shift, and it’s very painful for some. Also keep in mind, much of what I am talking about is not about skill set, it’s more about how you think, to look at the world of business as it really is or will be.

Have you ever wondered how many people you actually reach through those who follow you? Have you wondered how many of those followers are online at the same time you are? Does the information even matter?

If you are selling a service or product you may want to know some of this data, it can help you target and schedule what time to do promotions. You could be doing research on another Twitter account or follower. At best you will be amuzed at the data, it makes me wonder whats happening in the Blogesphere. But make no mistake, if you’re in marketing the information can be a great asset to your marketing toolbox. It can validate or affirm whether what’s happening is real or has potential.

So why even bring this up, I was wondering about reach, I was wondering who at any given time might see what you were Tweeting when you were Tweeting it. Afterall, you want traffic to your blog right? You want traffic to see what you are about and what you do right?

I have to make a disclaimer here, I used just one site for this excerise, Twitter Analyzer, I’m also skeptical of these kinds of sites, why, accuracy, I have no way of proving how accurate the data actually is.

Anyway, let me share a couple things for you to do, you’ll get an idea of what’s happening when you’re not looking. Oh, and be sure to write the data down so you can look at it later.


Step 1

When you first put your name in the dialogue box you have to wait for a short bit, then you will be brought to a page with all the data it was able to extract from Twitter, the first stat is how many Tweets you made for the last week and the current day. It’s not an important number but interesting to see how active you are any given day.

Step 2

While on the User button click on the Popularity button just above it, you will see total mentions and total unique users monitoring. Click on any date on the graph for the details to posted below.

Step 3

Still on the User tab, click on the Reach button above, You can select a date but it will auto-select the current date for you. Three stats will be shown, Unique Readers Reach, Unique Users RTing and Total Update Messages RTed.

Step 4

Now lets click on the FRIENDS tab on the bottom, Click on On-Line Followers button. Here you will see who is online by the hour, it’s an eye opener if you have lots of followers. Even if you don’t it can be an interesting stat, it keeps you humble too : )

Step 5

The next one to look at is the Followers Density Map, this one shows where your followers live by country. Another very interesting stat depending on where you live, the majority of my followers are from the USA, no big surprise, #2 is, GB – Great Britan, and #3 EC – Ecuador! I didn’t see that one coming.

As you can see you can extract some interesting data, there’s alot more you can do at this site like how many followers your followers have by groups. For example, 32% of my followers have 1,000 – 2,000 followers. 11.27% of my followers have 10,000 – 20,000 followers. That appears to be the highest demographic as that’s all it shows me on the high end. The problem is, I happen to know that The Ellen Show is following me and has over 4 million followers, why doesn’t that get reflected in this section? I’m just say’in. Oh and by the way, Paul Rickett sent me this Tweet:

@paulrickett Notice on Twitter analyzer it doesn’t seem to know abt Canada in density reach? Appears to put all Cdns into US!

Have fun checking your stats and your friends stats, if you work for a corporation this information could be very useful. This site and many others can help you answer the question, do you know the depth of your Twitter following?

I was helping a friend fix his computer, he asked is everything lost? I ask him if he backed up his data, of course not why would he do that? I asked the next question, when was the last time you backed-up your data? Then like he had a megaphone in my ear, I DON”T KNOW HOW TO BACK UP MY DATA! All my spreadsheets and word documents are lost, how can that be the computers brand new?

If I had a dollar for every computer that broke down out of the box I wouldn’t have to worry about money. But for some reason when we buy something we just assume it will work for ever, especially things like TVs, stereos, freezers and computers. We put more faith in those purchases than we do in anything else, well, outside of eating in a public restaurant anyway. Why? Why do we do that? Nowhere does it say these devices and equipment won’t breakdown or already be broken before we even get them installed. Most things we buy today all have some form of technology in them, try and think of one that doesn’t…well a potato peeler maybe but there’s not many.

There seems to be this unwritten law that if I buy something it just works, there’s no chance it won’t we’re thinking as we drive home. I have sold more computers than I can count over the years and manufacturer’s don’t always get it right, something can fall through the cracks. Assembly lines are not immune to malfunction, why? Technology!

I got a call to provide some input on what was thought to be a DNS issue, after asking enough questions, two or three I discovered that most likely it was that expensive high end Router that was installed. I said pull it and go get something different and see what happens. You guessed it, that high end router was faulty.

We put alot of faith in technology, we build spreadsheets thinking that they are accurate and the software can’t make a mistake, really? How do you know? Society has gone down the technology road so far now we can go back, and would we want to? Most of us have High Speed (Broadband) Internet connections, would you go back to dial-up now? I rest my case.

Now technology is progressing at a rate that is exponential, explosive growth. People think linearly, one, two, three, and 30 steps later your at 30. But the reality of information technology it is going 2, 4, 8, 16, and 30 steps later you are at a billion! With growth moving that quickly how will ensure that it is accurate and not faulty?

Take nanotechnology, little blood cell sized nanobots will be injected into our blood streams and cure say diabetes. Will it? What if doesn’t, what are the side effects and who is going to guarantee that nanobots are full proof? I suspect no one will back them up 100% but how can we be sure these technologies will work 100% of the time and not fail in the future?

I believe there needs to be a body that overseas and sets standards to protect us against faulty technology in the future, in light of this exponential growth curve. You may assume that there will be, but, let’s not assume please. So, should we trust technology? Some of it?  Yes. A Lot of it? Yes. But when it comes to injecting blood cell sized nanobots into our bodies, I want to know for sure something won’t go wrong. How far do we allow technology to go, to intrude on our privacy and watch over us? How deep is your trust in technology?

I’m just asking the questions nothing more. I’m suggesting we keep things in perspective, make sure we put the proper framework in place now to ensure the safe use of these new technologies being worked on today.

Should we trust technology?

Owen Greaves, EzineArticles.com Basic Author