While I’m no Nostradamus, the year-end has me thinking what 2009 might be like for interactive and social media – will it all be “harmonic”? Here are 5 predictions:
1. Broadcast TV and Web Converge: While I’ve called this the holy grail of “harmonic convergence”, it seems inevitable that consumption of media is on fast track of becoming a much more interactive experience in lieu of a passive one – instead of having to “go online” to interact with and extend broadcast content (in parallel), we’ll see several more examples of being able to just “go” in 2009 as a single integrated web/tv user experience. I have a hunch CNN will lead the pack on this one.
2. Boomers embrace Facebook: While my mom is still not on Facebook (although she did bring it up last night over Christmas Eve dinner), I’m willing to bet we’ll see a notable spike in Forrester’s Social Technographics profile for boomer “joiners” of social networks (mainly Facebook). The challenges of 2009 will compel people to further connect and support one another – families will want to stay close even if it has to be virtually – and that means boomers will not want to feel “left out” of the social conversations, especially with their kids and grandkids. Facebook will be a key facilitator in helping to make that happen.
3. Media Significantly Consolidates: The perfect storm of new and embraced media distribution channels, the horrible economy, and social media “citizen journalists” is only bad news for traditional media, mainly news-based print publications (i.e. newspapers). The fact is,we can get news in real-time online – we live in a world of instant gratification and up-to-the minute (sometimes second) reporting of events. We’ll see a major shakeup or two in 2009 with some big name news publications.
4. YouTube Goes Commercial: Google is looking to monetize YouTube and is trying hard to do so. This year, the site has seen lots more sponsored ads, featured movies, brand channels, and various other advertising experiments. The economic conditions of 2009 will force YouTube to become far more commercial than the user-generated, more organic experience it was a year ago.
5. Twitter Grows Up: This was a big year for Twitter as it seemed to go mainstream as broadcast news and brands embraced the micro-blogging platform. Applications like TweetDeck turbo charged the Twitter experience creating a power user-base. I have a hunch that at some point in 2009 something significant will happen with Twitter – maybe an acquisition or redesign in order to monetize the service and help it through its adolescence. Let’s just hope it doesn’t lose the elegance of its simplicity.
Despite the economic outlook for 2009, I welcome the new year because I really believe it’s a year to re-group & re-affirm, innovate, and lay a solid foundation from which to grow upon when the economy turns around. Bring it on and happy holidays!