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Tonight, I’ve got this pretty big speech I get to give in Vancouver. I’m one of seven speakers talking about “what to watch this year in digital,” and it’s for a crowd of 250 people!

Am I excited? Absolutely. I really care about the topic I’m speaking about, and I really hope it connects with people. Plus, it’s a big crowd! I have some excitement-flutters, like little hamsters are jogging inside me.

I’m going to spoil the talk for people who don’t get to be in attendance (if you’re coming tonight, you might wish to stop reading.)

Technology is an amazing paradox. There are times when we write amazing things to friends we love, and times when we hide behind our screens like they’re toilet stall barricades. Technology is both a catapult and a corset, depending on how we use it.

So, tonight, I am saying the next big thing to watch this year in digital is focus. I am seeing a strong movement towards tools that promote greater engagement in our surroundings, and a more mindful use of technology. (I’ll bring up some specific examples in my talk, and share them later.)

Imagine fewer notifications. More chaos-cutters. More tracking the things you love, and more actually doing them. There’s a movement afoot to find, use and build technology that supports our best intentions, instead of taking advantage of our greatest weaknesses.

This is why I’m excited: all of us dotted at our desks across the country, or sitting in seats at the conference tonight, are bubbling over with potential and possibilities. The side-projects, ambitions and dreams we all have, the relationships we want to grow, the skills we want to develop, the places we want to go — I want these to happen, for all of us. I think this is the year technology starts to want that for us, too. I can’t wait to see where we go from here.

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Kevan Gilbert

Kevan Gilbert is a writer, speaker and content strategy on the West Coast of BC, Canada.

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