Posted by Mark Abrams
Unless you’re a Luddite rube, certainly by now you've heard and maybe even got caught up in all the buzz and controversy surrounding the release of the "2008 Online Marketing Predictions: Mobile, Subscriptions, Collaboration Rule." Unbelievable in depth and breath, the forecast comes from famed blogger B.L. Ochman.
Of course, B.L. is no stranger to controversy. Her skeptics are legion. Hell, just the mention of the name gets on some people's nerves. Her detractors think she's just one of literally dozens of attitudinal PR knuckleheads turned self-proclaimed self-promoted Web experts.
Well, that's apparently not the whole story. According to B.L., she is uniquely qualified in the areas of PR and social media. For one, she goes by "B.L." No one else can claim that. Also, her blog is the type with sidebars on both the right as well as the left. You just don't see that often. Anyway, to some the combination is powerful and makes B.L. a force to be reckoned with.
Here below in italics are her predictions for '08 followed by a brief analysis of each.
"iPhones and similar devices that deliver true mobile internet access will replace laptops that everyone hates to carry no matter how light they pretend they are before you add the battery, etc.."
Hmmmmm... no. Nor will iPhones replace theaters for seeing movies. iPhones, etc. will radically abbreviate and reduce the "experience" for an audience weaned on presumption and prone to hallucination. It's like saying McDonald's will replace fine aged steak. Sadly, for some that's true. But it's not a good trend by any means and the monumental ignorance of the loss does us all a grand cultural disservice.
"Subscriptions will become the revenue models for social networks. The fees will be small, but they will replace conventional advertising as a revenue model."
Hmmmmm... wishful but no. What we've learned is that a subscription model is incompatible with the Web, a system fundamentally opposed to intellectual property. What we are finding is that if it ain't free, the Web audience will either steal it, discount it or leave it.
"Social networks will be the key driver of brand success as consumers increasingly trust each other’s opinions and distrust advertising and corporate crap. Dear CMOs and CFOs, The Cluetrain is not science fiction."
That's ten-year-old refried wishful nonsense. Regrettably, B.L missed the biggest news on the Web for '07, i.e. the Cluetrain wrecked. If anything, there is a rising backlash to all this anti-corporate anarchist amateur crap. If anything, corporations are concluding that MySpace, Facebook, etc. are an uncontrollable and immeasurable grand waste of time. If anything, the trend in IT is to block these social sink holes.
"2008 will be the year of collaboration and intellectual partnership, internally and externally. I predicted this too soon last year, but I still think it’s coming on strong over the next 12 months."
You keep dreamin' there B.L. Bottom line: corporate territory is a byproduct of human instinct. People/organizations overcome that instinct when there's mutual benefit AND an authoritative mandate... and even then they do it begrudgingly.
With regard to the individual, the Web and social media have ironically diluted the potential for meaningful productive partnership. Used to be, one's Rolodex of 50 top contacts would yield 1-3 meaningful connections. Now Facebook and others give us hundreds in some cases thousands of "friendz" who aren’t worth shit. As a "friend" said on Facebook recently: "This isn't a place to be productive; it's a place to waste time."
"Corporate blogging will be eclipsed by crowd-sourcing applications like Dell Idea Storm. Companies including YouTube, blip.tv and newcomer Seesmic will expand and cooperate to include group collaboration and meetings."
Tool chasing, that's all that is. The idea is that if we just have one more tool, all this stuff will come together. Nope. Fact is we already have very sophisticated "crowd sourcing" tools in place for gleaning feedback from particular audiences. Now if B.L. is suggesting that Corporate America is going to turn into some kinda customer-owned open-source enterprise, that's just nonsense. It's not going to happen this year or ever. Bottom line: there is a fundamental conflict between open source and proprietary; and it just so happens that proprietary is what feeds us. Until we figure out how the OS system can do that - let alone do it better - it's NOT going to happen.
"Special lighting for web cam broadcasts on Seesmic will be the must-have product of the moment. That's because nobody likes looking like a ghoul."
Listen: good lighting is not necessarily your friend B.L. Trust me.
"Google stock will hit $1000 a share and split. The founders will cash out and the company then accused of piercing the corporate veil with creative accounting. They’ll come out on top before the end of the year, and new accounting standards will be set by the case."
This one is right out of B.L.'s butt. As it more hallucinatory than the potential reactions from alcohol, I cannot think of any other explanation other than possibly an unfortunate drug interaction.
"The Internet will swing the 2008 election with its candidate of choice, who won't be one of the ones already in the running. MoveOn.org, which already has a huge membership base, will team up with Unity08 to choose which will come out in big enough numbers to swing the election."
This one, too. Almost sounds opiate-based. Swing the election?! C'mon.
ONE TRUE PREDICTION
Here, you can take this to the bank: People will stop listening to Web knuckleheads like B.L. Ochman and return to deferring to genuine authorities. Certainly B.L. could help speed that up some by converting her blog to subscription.