Looking back on previous predictions and articles, I am sitting at around a B average in terms of my predictions coming true.
In 2022, I predicted that traditional media would have a resurgence but that it wouldn’t last. That was mostly right, but we are seeing another uptick in some slightly evolved forms of traditional media as the social media scene has become too crowded. Particularly with bad actors or the decline of what used to be a decent platform, "X." Things have progressed to the point where I’d make the case that digital advertising like Google Search is now “traditional advertising.” But as these platforms become more saturated, there is a shift to less “skippable” advertising mediums that feel a little more attractive due to their simplicity.
I also predicted that innovation would suffer from the actions of well-known charlatans, citing Adam Neumann (again, no relation!) and Elizabeth Holmes. Still, I didn’t even see Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX collapse coming. There’s more out there, and I predict more orange jumpsuits and perp walks in the future as investors call in their chips and facades fall away.
So, as the new year barrels forward, and before any of my predictions get stale, here we go.
1. What's old is new again, and what is new is getting old.
Advertising on social media and other digital platforms is getting crowded, as I said before. But also, they are not driving the results they once were or once claimed they were. These platforms require a nuanced and expert approach to ensure you’re targeting correctly and not getting bogus metrics. Good old Google Search and display ads are no longer “new media,” nor are Facebook or Instagram. TikTok and YouTube are still great frontiers as video continues to grow, and advertisers who do the work to understand and answer their audiences' needs will find success. The key is to develop advertising and organic content that can cross mediums and platforms easily.
2. AI will hit peak saturation, and investments will centralize.
The rush to capitalize on an AI startup is over for most companies. And by "capitalize," I don’t mean implementation. I mean that if you are trying to create your own LLM (Large Learning Model) and make it to market, you missed the bus. The investments are with OpenAI, Microsoft, and Anthrop/c. Even the usual big players like Alphabet (Bard) and Meta (Facebook) are just playing catch-up now. And they will catch up, but they won’t get out ahead of it. Sorry, boys.
To be clear, if you’re not implementing AI while simultaneously ensuring you have protective and contractual policies around its use, it’s time to get moving. AI can be a game changer in automation, coding, and data analysis, to name a few.
Companies will struggle if they don’t invest in people or partners who understand AI. “Prompt Engineer” will be a popular job title in the coming year, and companies will find more ways to use it beyond generating copy and funny images with odd-looking hallucinations. The hot new coding language? English.
3. The Chief Twit finds a new hobby.
Even the richest man in the world’s tolerance for risk and poor performance runs out. And with drug-addled rants and nonsensical changes to a platform and brand that is clearly in chaos and is monetizing hate, it’s either going to fold (less likely), or he’ll come under too much pressure to shed the debt. Especially in light of the two companies he cares about, Tesla and SpaceX.
Threads took a bite out of its market share last year but has yet to pound a nail in the coffin. “X” will continue to decline as a platform for content and advertising until it hits a critical and painful rock bottom.
RIP, little blue bird. We’ll see if a phoenix rises from the ashes or not. (Don’t @ me, tech bros.)
Bonus Prediction: Misinformation Immunities Kick In
We will get smarter as we consume content written by bots and our bullsh*t detectors get more accurate. Whether it’s clunky ad copy, sloppily slapped together, or full-on propaganda, we’re in for a lot more misinformation. And a lot of it is imported. My prediction is that more folks will learn to roll their eyes and keep scrolling, trusting nothing and no one. A win for critical thinking. The biggest loser: trust.