I do this every year, and one thing I’ve learnt is that you can never accurately predict what’s going to happen online (especially in social channel popularity) and how the market will change. We can, however, make a few educated guesses and throw about some wider theories – so this year I’m going to play it safe and do just that.
Nik With a Fake Beard
2014 will be the year of wearable technology. Google Glass is rolling out to the masses this year, and there are many devices in its wake that make for interesting reading on the likes of Kickstarter. Check out the Smarty Ring, for example, which connects your smartphone to just one finger.
Devices aren’t just getting smaller, they’re getting tiny. They’re more integrated and a part of our lives. Admittedly, there’s a cap on these depending on uptake, cost, and availability, but this is a space we need to watch closely as the early adopters, proto-techno-hipsters, and the geek-demographic (myself included) will be queuing up in force to strap on the latest.
The semantic web is becoming a reality – at a scary rate for some. By this I don’t just mean a common framework, but a new psychology as to how we share our data and how data finds us (even, in many ways, before we start to look for it).
Advertising is now far more targeted than it has ever been. When we play in social channels we are the product. Our data is valuable. The likes of Facebook, Google, and a raft of other services now target us by interests, preferences, and a broad spectrum of personal data that we give away just by interacting with our friends.
Let’s add these two pieces of technology together, with a few other common tools, and see where this could lead us in the next 12 months. Let’s think about geo-positioning and the importance of Google Local, and how this might work (very simply) together:
Imagine, if you will, entering a shopping centre. Your social channels know your preferences, and your phone can transmit these to the wearable device of your choice (making for a far more streamlined experience). In my case, just by the digital thumbprint of what I do online, there’s enough information out there to make an assumption on things I’d be genuinely interested in. If my heads-up display gave me a few interesting options, with a local map pointing me to a new roast of coffee in the nearest Starbucks, 20 per cent off outdoor wear in a sale at Cotswold, and told me the latest issue of whatever’s on my pull list is available in the comics store, how is that a bad thing?
So what do we need to do as businesses and individuals to make this happen?
Well, as businesses, we need to start playing the game. Are you listed with Google Plus and is it tied in to your local presence? Do you use geo-location channels like FourSquare and are you in control of your brand? Many other services trawl FourSquare for their geo-data, so it’s important to make sure this is accurate. Chances are your business will have a presence in geo-location channels already, without even knowing it.
Are you using Offers, Events and other functionality in Facebook? Starting now and taking control of your online presence is going to be critical for the future. Do you have a strategy and are you growing your communities now?
As individuals, we need to buy-in. We need to get past the fear of sharing our data and resist the temptation of anonymity. If you want to be a master of Google Plus then there’s a minimum amount of data you have to give over, and G+ actually refers to itself as “a social networking and identity service”. The likes of Facebook are free because they farm our data. That’s the pay-off, and we need to realise that. It’s very possible that if we don’t buy-in, we’ll be left behind.
2014 is going to be a great year here at Tank PR. We’re moving forward to make sure our clients are ready for the future and have a solid platform to build on – no matter what happens. A new year is always a time to reflect on where you are right now. Your audience is moving forwards and the landscape is changing. Are you keeping up?