However, after surviving three months of solitary confinement with a hermit community in the Himalayas, I thought you may like a few hints and tips on web trends that are emerging for 2008. In case you're thinking of becoming what the beards in the industry call "early adopters". That's marketing speak for Geek. Go on, you love it.
2008's already looking like it will be an interesting one for the music industry. The year kicked off with a fanfare announcement from Qtrax promising peer-to-peer downloads from a catalogue of 25 million songs with involvement from four major labels. Queue media frenzy around the ad supported model and predictions of what this would mean for the industry.
Except it turned out that none of the labels had in fact signed up. Warner was the first to issue a statement. Tut tut. Anyway, as far as music goes, Last.fm is still kicking around and also have a look at Deezer, which offers free music without downloads. I'm also checking out Imeem at the moment, which looks pretty slick except you have to create an account before you do pretty much anything. Which is annoying. Anyway, keep an eye on Qtrax in case they manage to pull something out of the bag.
Blogging is getting a whole new set of tools this year. At the moment, those in the know are playing around with a service called Qik. Which, cutting it down to normal speak, lets you stream video straight from your mobile phone live online. Definitely one to watch out for in 2008.
YouTube is also about to try something new - ad sharing for those posting videos on the site. With more than 70 million users a month, the new revenue sharing system will be rolled out in a couple of months and will use a mixture of adverts, including short clips shown ahead of the actual film. Of course this only applies if you're uploading original content and the idea behind it is to "reward creativity". Speaking of which (and it being nearly Pancake Day) here's one video we're loving at the moment:
Facebook. Bebo. MySpace et al - you just can't seem to get enough of them. But, serial Facebookers are starting to tire of app-spamming (you know, all the biting, throwing, film quizzes, top friends stuff that clogs up your account...). Will we be seeing a drop off in users this year suffering from Facebook fatigue, or will Mark Zuckerberg and his team manage to captivate the UK still? Security, safety and data portability will be hot topics. (As will the inevitable scandals as bosses find naked pictures of their staff and teachers get the sack for inappropriate online behaviour. But that's obvious.)
MySpace is heating up competition this year as it opens up its platform to developers. What does this mean, I hear you cry! Basically, people with beards who develop tools and services for the internet can now design and develop new features for use on MySpace. (OK, enough with the beard thing - more likely funky haircuts, designer glasses and a flat in East London...)
Have you tried Twitter yet? It's great for micro-blogging. Just say what you've got to say to the world in 140 characters or less (yes, you can follow me if you're interested in breaking news, such as what time I normally have a cup of tea, here.)