Back in 2004 I launched my first website. At the time, my friends thought it was strange that I found it necessary to lay my claim to a piece of the Internet. After all, six years ago, digital branding on the personal front had not quite caught on. The web was mainly a place for companies, bloggers, and porn, and we were just starting to see the beginning of the social networking movement with sites like Flickr and Facebook launching that year.
Today, there are endless articles about personal branding and books, such as Me 2.0, that address the topic of building online profiles. There are countless web services to monitor your brand, employers hiring choices are influenced by your web behaviour, and it is increasingly difficult to erase your digital tracks.
Just as we're cozying up to this idea of having a site to protect and promote our personal brand, there is movement among celebrities that is bound to trickle down to we common folk that might make a simple webpage look like a thing of the past.
Bill Cosby is just one example of a star going on an Internet tour to promote his new app. The Bill Cosby iPhone download features "appisodes," photos, audio clips, exclusive videos, and there are plans for ring tones and an Android version. The app is free, and it's definitely breathing new life into the comedian who just days ago fought off claims on Twitter that he was dead.
As sales of smart phones continue to rise and as the app world continues to expand, I have little doubt that more and more people will bypass the old web page in favour of mobile apps. I might not go as far as Wired's editor-in-chief Chris Anderson in the magazine's September issue when he claims that the web is dead, but I do agree that the future is "less about browsing and more about getting."
I don't think this personal app trend is going to go mainstream in 2010, but I do think it's not far off. If you're active across multiple social networks, if you blog on a regular basis, and you post photos or videos to the web, all of this content makes for dynamic app material.
No longer will friends and relatives need to visit your Facebook, Flickr and YouTube pages to catch up with your life -- they'll just launch your personal app and scroll through all of your updates on their iPhone 6 or Android 3.1.
The biggest hurdle is development. Back in 2004 I took advantage of sites like Blogger to push my posts on to the web free. If a tool is ever developed, and I know a few are in the works, to make it simple for the average computer users to build a mobile application, I suspect an app called you might be a new digital reality.