Prophecy or Pontification: The Best and Worst Predictions About 2011


Every year content creators gather their thoughts and look ahead to the next year. We see many New Year’s goals and resolutions posts, as well as predictions for the year to come. We sit back, look into the new media crystal ball and ask ourselves, “What will this year hold?”

Prediction posts are fun to read. It’s exciting to start a new year and think of all the possibilities we have in front of us. But what’s also fun and interesting is to look back at the year before and see who got it right and who didn’t. Some bloggers and new media enthusiasts even go back to their own predictions from the following year and post about whether they were dead on or dead wrong.

What a great idea right? How about we take a stroll down memory lane, a look back at a few of the New Media predictions that were made for 2011, to see who was spot on and who possibly missed the mark.

It’s All In Good Fun

Before I go on, let me clarify that making predictions takes guts in the first place. So, even if their prediction didn’t come true, it in no way means they’re not worthy of our attention. I’ll keep reading their blogs, following them on Twitter and shaking their hands at events. If all of us could predict with precision what the next year would hold, then that would mean there would be nothing to take us by surprise. I don’t know about you, but I love surprises. For example, who could have predicted the Netflix blunder (Qwikster anyone?) or the Kindle Fire or Google Plus? I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Three of the Best Predictions About 2011

Prediction: Journalists and news organizations will rely more on social media to get the story – by Mashable

“What we’ve known as the role of the foreign correspondent will largely cease to exist in 2011. In 2011, we’ll see more news organizations relying heavily on stringers and, in many cases, social content uploaded by the citizenry.”

While I wouldn’t necessarily say foreign correspondents are completely dead and not needed, I would say Mashable got it right when it comes to their statement regarding news agencies relying heavily on uploaded social content.

Back in June I wrote an article about how social media was quickly becoming the leading way to communicate during a national disaster. It also seems it’s become a go-to source for journalists looking for information when disaster strikes. We see Twitter, Facebook and YouTube used on national news broadcasts on at least a weekly basis.

Prediction: Marketers embrace the idea of customers telling the storiesLisa Petrelli

“I think 2011 will be the year that brand marketers – and C-Suites for that matter – will begin to finally ‘get,’ and ultimately embrace, the idea that it is much better for their customers to tell their stories and share their stories than for them to continue to try to control the entire message.”

We saw this everywhere in 2011, from TV commercials (Ford) to companies hiring bloggers as brand ambassadors. Bloggers traveled the globe, were spotlighted in commercials, hosted Twitter chats and went to events sponsored by a company. As she said in her prediction, customers would rather see a real person’s enthusiasm for a certain product than its features and benefits. As some have predicted for 2012, I believe the concept of a brand ambassador will continue to grow in popularity with companies of all shapes and sizes.

Prediction: Bloggers will need agents –  Jennifer James

“As brand/blogger relationships grow I also see more mom bloggers needing agents to act on their behalf to negotiate contracts for spokesperson and brand ambassador opportunities.”

We saw this several times in 2011 and I believe we’ll see it more and more in 2012. As she pointed out in her “Gearing Up for 2012 Mom Blog Predictions”, the sway group was formed in 2011. It’s an exclusive agency who works with bloggers, connecting them with brands. She also mentioned this NYTimes article about a fashion blogger who hired a New York agency to handle all of her negotiations.

Three of the Worst Predictions About 2011

Prediction: The newness of social media will wear off – As seen on Junta42.com

“The novelty of social media will begin to melt away and with it the undue animosity hurled at it on a daily basis.”

You might disagree with me on this one, but I don’t think the novelty of, nor the animosity towards, social media wore off in 2011. A “novelty” is something new and unusual. Companies are still learning how to embrace social media and finally started realizing they needed a social media budget.

This post also predicted that social media would be viewed “less as a ‘game-changer’ and more as an obvious channel.” It seems an obvious channel to those of us who are in the trenches of social media every day, but not to the general public. And of course, Google+ entered the picture, which means another new social media network for everyone to learn and embrace – and inevitably decide if we love it or love to hate it.

I’ve actually read several 2012 predictions that basically say this same thing: more companies will invest in social media, social media will become mainstream, people will stop referring to it as new media, etc. We shall see, right?

Prediction: Quora is the future of bloggingShervin Pishevar

@Scobleizer I believe @quora is the future of blogging.”

Unfortunately for some, Quora was not the next big thing. It was being hailed as more useful and elegant than Twitter and Facebook. Even big names like Robert Scoble (he later trashed Quora, which is a whole other story) and VC Mark Suster were excited and on board. I remember being excited about Quora for about a week, and then I stopped using it. Why didn’t it become the next big thing? Some say it had design flaws, was confusing to use and was up against some major competition such as Yahoo Answers.

Prediction: 2011 is the Year of the QR code – Way too many people predicted this to even list their names

I put this QR code prediction under the “worst” category for two reasons: 1) Many people still have no idea what they’re for, and (2) For those of us who do know what they’re for, we don’t use them. At least that’s the case for me and several of my geeky friends. I can’t even get the code to work half the time on my Android smart phone. (No comments from the iPhone peanut gallery, okay?)

Yes, we did see a ton, and I mean a ton, of QR codes appear on packages, online (why?) and on print mail in 2011. But I wouldn’t call 2011 a successful year for QR codes.

Allison recently wrote a post titled “Are QR Codes Dead?” I agree with her that they’re not completely dead yet, but they will be if companies don’t start getting a little more creative with them.

Your Thoughts on 2011

Do you recall any predictions that were made for 2011 that were either right on the money or missed the boat completely? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Looking Ahead to 2012

With 2011 behind us, we can now look to 2012. Deb asked the BlogWorld community on the BlogWorld & New Media Facebook page what some of their predictions for 2012 were. I also asked our team to chime in with their predictions. Here’s a list of New Media predictions for 2012:

“ The majority of people will happily stay with Facebook — they’ll SAY they’re unhappy, but they won’t leave — and Google Plus will be used by a few specific groups of people (just as MySpace was used by bands long after the general public was tired of it.)” – AFMarCom

“More interest in Pinterest!” – AFMarCom

“I think self publishing is going to be big this year” – Ainslie Hunter

“Pinterest and Google + will both go mainstream in 2012.” – Rick Calvert, BlogWorld & New Media Expo Founder

“I also think that Pinterest will go mainstream this year and be a big deal – maybe even growing to overshadow Facebook eventually. I also think that we’ll continue to see more and more people in the general public understand that not all blogs are online journals and people will start holding bloggers to higher standards, the same way they’d treat a newspaper or magazine. Lastly, especially with Google owning their own social network now, I think we’ll continue to see deeper integration of search and social, so you can’t just be an SEO or an original content creator – you have to be both.” – Allison Boyer, Feature Editor for the BlogWorld blog

What are YOUR predictions for 2012?

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