DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

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• To see the Future, Turn to the Past: #NGIF for December 2, 2011.

What was I into this week? Well I was into the Past, the Future, the Culture and the Stats, or at least that was a convenient way to group the best of the tweets and links I consumed this week. What were you into? Here’s my weekly post, Nick’s Great Information Friday (#NGIF) for Friday, December 2nd.

Into the Past

I’ve always found that the best way to look at the future is by understanding the past. This week’s posts were rich in backwards glances that offer some very useful insights:

LA Times columnist Michael Hilzik interviews early Internet millionaire David Bohnett, whose GeoCities was, in a way, the first social network back in the 90s. Bohnett is a prominent investor and philanthropist these days, working on GLBT issues and trying to amend California’s Prop. 13.  

In the article, Bohnett suggests that Wikipedia is a better analogy than Facebook, because of the emphasis upon content, not individuals. In this post, we see that Wikipedia can be useful, not only as a great historical source, but as a predictive one as well.

While you’re looking back at the Internet of the 90s, check out this infographic which compares 1996 to 2011. Amazing! 

GigaOm founder Om Malik looks back on a decade of blogging from his own personal statistical perspective. Guy didn’t sleep for ten years, it would seem. 

The Atlantic posted a remembrance of the pioneering 70s videoart/activist group Ant Farm, whose sensibility and modus operandi foreshadowed many features of today’s YouTube and video sharing culture. Well, sort of, having been there and known those guys pretty well. 

Into the Future

What a difference a name makes (and nearly a generation): Today all we hear about are “cloud” computing solutions. Back in the 90’s, the anti-Microsoft forces (mainly Sun and Oracle) rallied behind the slogan “the network is the computer.” Snappy, but not nearly so much as the concept of the “cloud.” Two articles this week helped me understand cloud more deeply: a Venture Beat piece about up and coming cloud companies.

NY Times Bits blog post about how cloud will challenge the old-school tech incumbants.

Steve Poland prognosticates on the prospects of a coming collapse of the tech market. Love the headline: “Will it End Badly? Probably not.”

Speaking of ending badly, rumblings from Redmond that Microsoft is eying an entry into scripted television. (When will they ever learn?)

LOTS of online chatter over the opening of online music service Spotify’s decision to open its platform for third-party development, like this self-referential coverage from The Guardian that shows how its online music reviews can now enable simultaneous playing. Many compare the move to the opening of Facebook’s API. Maybe!

Into the Culture

Thanksgiving is the start in earnest of Movies’ High Holy Days, as serious Oscar-contender movies crowd the theatres and the award announcements fall upon us like leaves in a Santa Ana wind. Since I saw HUGO on Turkey evening, I thought I’d highlight the best film article of the week, Fast Company’s profile of Martin Scorcese, with a killer graphic of the director’s amazingly diverse career. 

As an avid consumer of audiobooks (mostly in the car), in addition to print books and ebooks, I appreciated the Sunday NY Times Book Review’s appreciation of the form, still an object of snobbery from the printophiles.

“Free Ride” is a new book by Robert Levine, widely reviewed and cheered by the mainstream media whose banner he carries against the forces of “free” that are disrupting existing business models. I haven’t read the book yet, but have been surprised that it hasn’t seemed to spark a big old fashioned flame war online.

Into the Stats

E-Marketer provides numbers for the astounding growth of tablet and smartphones, amending the future growth patterns sharply upward.

TechCrunch reports the new monthly online video viewing record --- more than 46 billion. Ouch!