Each year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity gathers thousands of innovative thinkers and practitioners in advertising and media from around the world to talk about what's new and what's next in our brave new digital world. Last year I spoke about one of the most exciting developments online: the fact that the Internet has come out of its adolescent stage and is growing up into a place where our online and our offline lives have merged -- where the qualities we care most about offline are increasingly reflected in our experience online. And where, among all the random searching that defined the Internet's early years, something new has emerged: a search for greater meaning.
On Monday, I took the stage again with Roy Sekoff, HuffPost's founding editor and president of our soon-to-be-launched video streaming network, HuffPost Live. And what was on my mind was the speed with which the Internet is heading in this new direction. A world of too much data, too many choices, too many possibilities and too little time is forcing us to decide what we really value. And, more and more, people and innovative companies are recognizing that we actually have a life beyond our gadgets. That is why one of the most exciting features of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference last week was Do Not Disturb, the new iPhone feature designed to get you off your iPhone altogether.
And Huffington is definitely a manifestation of this longing to disconnect from the hurly-burly of our hyper-connected lives and join the slow news movement.
So here are some of this issue's highlights: Katie Bindley on the psychology behind online romance scams; Michael Calderone on Politico's growth since its upstart days way back in the 2008 election; Sharon Carty on the young designers, engineers and scientists pumping new life into Detroit's auto industry; Peggy Drexler on the risks and rewards of raising children to believe they're all winners, all the time; Gary Hart on the possible consequences -- both legal and illegal -- of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision; and Priyamvada Natarajan, who asks "Can Science Be Crowd-Sourced?"
There's also Mike Hogan's review of Beasts of the Southern Wild (which won big at another festival in Cannes), a Q&A with Meghan McCain, and a "Greatest Person of the Week" feature on Dr. Michael Good, a Marietta, GA, veterinarian who takes in stray animals who would otherwise have little chance of getting medical attention or being adopted.
I'm delighted that Huffington's first issue entered the world last week to great reviews. On the morning Huffington launched, I gave the commencement address at the all-girls Nightingale School in New York. I told the young women in the graduating class the story of HuffPost's birth seven years ago, and the negative reviews that greeted its arrival. You don't have to buy into the negative reviews, I told them. And just the same, you can't lean on the positive ones.
So, here at Huffington, our goal is to keep learning, keep growing, and keep listening to you, our readers, about what you want more and what you want less of. And to stay true to the qualities of storytelling, engagement, and community -- the kind of timeless qualities that, I have a feeling, will continue to resonate no matter how our online lives change.
This post appears in the June 24, 2012 issue of Huffington.
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