Everyone writes the introspective, year-in-review blog post around this time of year. As I am someone, that means I have to as well.
But I can’t easily write a, “Top 10 Things about 2009,” because for the most part, 2009 was rotten. Recession, the mortgage crisis, that Twilight sequel… This very blog was born out of my own layoff, since I no longer had my old company’s blogs to spout off on.
So instead, here is my warning of things you will have had just about enough of by the end of 2010.
(By the way, I specifically did not mention Microsoft here, because we’ve all been sick of them since 1998 or so. So if you want to add Windows 7 or Bing, just know that I am with you. I am with you.)
1) Augmented Reality – This is already a buzz word that’s making the rounds, with marketing managers scrambling to find out what it’s all about and iPhone app developers making “squwee!” noises loudly over this new use of GPS tracking and camera.
It’s a nice idea: Mash up your location with various social networking tools, so you can, say, see where geographically all of your Twitter friends are, or view a street with the names of all the shops listed on it. It is pretty neat stuff – but the deluge of articles and videos and seminars teaching you how to “harness this powerful new tool!” is going to hurt after a while. My suggestion: Just make sure your store is listed on Google Maps and all the other social tools you’ve heard about, and leave it alone.
2) Facebook – I’m going out on a limb with this one, but I really think people are going to start to sag with Facebook. It’s great for people to get in touch with people they haven’t seen in a while, but haven’t you noticed that a lot of your long lost friends have been lost for a reason? You don’t have any need to talk to them. Everyone else is a short found friend you talk to every day. That’s what phones and coffee shops are for. After that there are some games, but really, no new or useful information is shared on Facebook.
They’re at a tipping point – a bad one, where people could start falling off at any moment. Add to that their ever-increasing need to monetize their user base, and they’re sure to mess it all up for themselves. As soon as someone introduces the, “next big thing,” Facebook will join MySpace out on the curb.
3) AT&T – Let me say, again, that while I don’t own an iPhone, I do think it’s a pretty rad little device. I have a G1, which I’m sad to say always makes me think of Ziggy from the show “Quantum Leap”: An amazing piece of hardware, but one that gives me so many problems I feel like I constantly need to hit it in order for it to work.
While it is a great phone, stories of AT&T’s idiocy abound. From denying Google Voice’s app to asking users to not use so much data, they’re begging people to switch carriers as soon as the AT&T/Apple contract expires. As much trouble as my G1 gives me, I’m thankful T-Mobile doesn’t give me as many headaches.
4) Information Overload – We’re in this now, but someone’s GOT to make this an issue in 2010. Between my Facebook Wall, Google Reader, Twitter, the blogs I read, the blogs I should read, SlideShare, YouTube… there’s just way too much stuff to stay on top of. I still seem to hear about the latest thing from actually talking to people who are in the know.
It’s actually what keeps me hopeful that FriendFeed will remain afloat for some time, as it’s the best aggregate of everything that still exists.
5) Social Celebrities – I will not name names, but there are far too many people famous in this enormous little circle to take seriously anymore. Some of them have great things to say, most of them are just brilliant at doing their own PR. The result is the interesting people are hard to find because they can’t be heard above the noise. The plus-side of this is it will be good for the publishing industry – because it seems if you really do know what you’re talking about, a publisher will be willing to commit your wisdom to paper.
In short, you aren’t an expert at anything unless you can prove you’ve done something more than get a lot of views on your YouTube channel.
6) Cable Television – Speaking of risky predictions, here’s a great one. Why the hell would cable television be at risk this year? Because the way we get content has changed so dramatically, we aren’t going to be willing to wait for our shows or movies to appear at their scheduled times. Netflix and RedBox are killing Blockbuster with this, as they’ve already killed Hollywood Video. Add to that Apple’s forthcoming subscription service, and you can see that consumers will soon be getting what they want when they want it.
Cable companies themselves see this writing on the wall, and are – smartly – making a good deal of their content available through their on-demand services. I have a feeling the flood of options coming our way will eventually make all cable television on-demand.
7) Web Cams – I know this is just me, but with handheld video cameras now so cheap, and each with a USB slot, there’s no longer any excuse to shoot your 12seconds posts or Vlogs with a web cam. No one hears what you’re saying, because they’re asleep from the visual of another nerd sitting in front of their computer. Unless you have an Internet strip show, you can take it outside.
Let me also say I’m so thankful to my girlfriend for getting me one of these for my birthday, so I can finally openly chastise other people over this. 😉
8 ) Social Media Marketing – I’m already seeing this now, in fact: Agencies abandoning social media as a marketing tool, and going back to traditional venues that have proven their worth before, like SEO and media purchases. This is because social media is supposed to be the voice of the user. You can teach a company how to use the tools, but you can’t out and do it for them quite as easily.
SMM itself isn’t going anywhere, but the idea of hiring someone to do it for you will slowly die. In it’s place, consultants will sell their services training businesses to do it for themselves, and specialty shops will make a fortune building phone apps, games, and anything else that seems like a good idea.
9) Digg – I don’t think I need to do too much of a tap dance on Digg‘s head here. While there is still a huge amount of traffic going to this site, it’s usefulness as a “social” news site is over. Let’s see if they improve after Google buys them up. It’s over, hammer.
10) Paying for Wifi – If you have a hotel or coffee shop that has Wifi, for the love of God, give it to your customers for free. This is something so widely used it can’t be used as a profit center anymore. The occasional hip businessman with a laptop has been replaced by everyone. And everyone now has a smart phone and a netbook. If you just give this away, you’re enticing more people to come to you. You’ll get your money back, I promise.
If McDonald’s says it works, you know there has to be something to it. They’re 70 years old, make $3.9 billion a year, and they suck – so they know the tricks to keeping customers happy.