Trends lists appeal to our obsession with ‘new’. But 2019 won’t be the year of novelties. This will be a year of refinements – one where we harness AV, AR and IoT, and use them to look beyond the limits imposed by our social media bubbles.
A new Magna Carta
Let’s remind ourselves just how huge social networks are, compared to country populations. Facebook, at 15 years old, has 2.27 billion daily users. Physical borders and national laws are proving impossible to apply. That’s why my first prediction is the creation of a code of conduct for the web, or as Tim Berners-Lee, defines it ‘a Magna Carta’, for the web. It’s not about preventing freedom of speech, more a moral framework for our online civilisation. The web is still so young in historical terms, and its adoption has been so rapid there’s been no time for rules. We need this now to counteract the likes of fake news, cyberbullying and prejudice.
A healthier self-image
I believe social media isn’t the sole cause of poor mental health, but rather a mirror of our times and values. We are garnering more experience and understanding of how to interact in a healthy way with social media platforms – because it is now a necessity. For example, a report by Demos in 2018 highlighted some impressive metrics on younger people using social media for good. The report said 64% of young people in the UK regard social media as essential to achieving social change, while half a million are engaging politically via social platforms. And 25% said they communicate with charities and campaign groups. In 2018 That’s why this year I think we’ll see start a cultural shift away from the Insta-life and Facebook fakery, and towards a place where we can be more unpolished and vulnerable. People like Megan Jayne Crab are leading the way, reminding us that we’re all the same and we’re all different, in equal measures. And that’s what makes us incredible.
Help to be human
Riding this wave of people who are ‘over’ pretending to be what they’re not, apps that help us a move toward integrity, reality and compassion are going to be big this year. First among this growing category of digital tools and content that support us as we cope with the human condition is the inspirational CalmHalm App. I recently witnessed it win some well deserved big awards.
My next prediction is about quality and curation. Generating much better, valued content, editing back poor content or making it sink lower in the search rankings. And providing better tools for content curation.
Every business needs a content strategy to be noticed in the digital age, to engage users, to get to the top of the search rankings by delivering content which gets shared and linked to. But sadly that doesn't mean it’s quality content, businesses you might get the click but you’ll also get the bounce.
The problem is cynical mass production of content for the sake of marketing and pushing up the rankings. The fact that we are drowning in content was discussed by Wired in 2016 and three years on we’re at saturation. Sure, we don’t have pages of repeated links written white on white anymore. But the regurgitation of clickbait content in order to support SEO is tantamount to the same thing. Hence why this piece isn’t a ‘top ten’.
More space for space
A little different to my other predictions, my final prediction is a subject that’s likely to get a lot of coverage this year: space. Space will be massive in 2019 and digital platforms provide a way to connect and follow the story like never before. It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landings, so let’s party hard. I know it’s a little less intense than my other predictions, although as intense as it gets if you’re a six-year-old. For my son, signing up to Mars One is under consideration (he’s not going!). At the very least, he’s saving up to be a Space Tourist (let’s hope the interest rates improve). Virgin Galatic reached space for the first time this week, and SpaceX has its first paying customer signed up. To follow along with the latest and greatest in Space this year, here are some good accounts:
UK space agency (yes, we have one!) @spacegovuk
NASA (ofcouse) @NASA
Mars Exploration (all the Rovers) @NASABeAMartian
The international space station @Space_Station
Virgin Galactic @virgingalactic
About the author
Valerie is Head of Digital at Uniform. With 20+ years experience in digital development, she is a specialist in digital strategy, user experience and project delivery. She has led accounts for national and global advertising agencies, as well as her own consultancy businesses.
Valerie was profiled by The Drum in their Creative Women series in 2017: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/01/05/the-worlds-most-creative-women-valerie-bounds-uniform