It’s Predictions Season!

Marne Pfister

Marne Pfister

Marne got her start crafting ‘zines and e-zines at the tender age of 11 and has combined her love of journalism, the written word, and the world wide web to act as a crafty and enthusiastic public relations savant. A lover of both modern and […]

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It’s Predictions Season!

We wanted to know: Can we accurately place bets on what lies ahead by looking at predictions made in years past?

Driving on an empty road towards the setting sun to upcoming 2016 and leaving behind old 2015.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

No, not the holidays – rather, the time of year when we PR practitioners take part in the annual tradition of reflecting on the past twelve months. To those in the media, this is also a time to nominate the biggest trends and topics that defined the past year, while making predictions for what lies ahead.

It can be near impossible to read the news or log into Facebook or Twitter without seeing new stories forecasting the topics and themes that will shape how we communicate, connect with each other, and consume information in the future; for those of us working in media and public relations, consuming these stories and discovering the latest set of predictions can be somewhat of a guilty pleasure! Inquiring minds want to know: How will technology continue to reshape and transform the marketing and advertising industries? What role will it play in how we digest and share information? How will newer concepts like crowdsourcing and on-demand everything change our day-to-day lives? WILL WE EVER GET FLYING CARS??

To look for clues on what the future holds, we revisited the ghosts of trends and media predictions of years past – how accurate did predictions for the future turn out to be? Were there any projections or concepts that failed to launch? Let’s take a look…


Unsurprisingly, most of the major predictions being made for the future in 2005 were centered on the communications industry, and how people connect with each other and get information; but even the most optimistic projections paled in comparison to what has actually gone down.

Take for example this post from Forbes blogger Rich Karlgaard in defense of his occupation:

“Blogging is not overhyped. You may be forgiven for thinking so, as no day goes by without a story on blogs. But blogs are no fad. […] Blogs really do threaten the mainstream media.”

He couldn’t have been more correct, but even he understated how user-generated content would reshape media and the news industry – between clickbait content machines masquerading as legitimate news, to how native advertising has transformed the entire marketing industry, blogging has, in its many forms, entirely changed the game for the mainstream media and its audience.

(And further proving his point, Rich is still an integral part of the discussion of innovation and growth, writing a biweekly column for Forbes called Innovation Rules, and appearing regularly on the Forbes on FOX business show and CNBC’s The Kudlow Report. You can follow him on Twitter @richkarlgaard!)


A mock-up of the iSlate, via Gizmodo

Five years ago, we were in the midst of the mobile takeover, as technological advancements infiltrated every aspect of how we communicate and our expectations for access to information– location, data, immediacy, and device portability. No longer tethered to computers at work and home, our devices continued to get more advanced and streamlined.

These trends prompted the media to predict the same takeover of the television industry, with the New York Times predicting “Web TV” to be a huge theme in 2010, while CNN accurately pointed to early-adopters in the world of streaming including Hulu, Apple TV, and Netflix.

The New York Times also predicted that Apple’s 2010 would be dominated by the debut of their long-rumored tablet device, then referred to as the “iSlate.” But even they couldn’t predict that by 2015, nearly half (45%) of U.S. adults would own tablets (growing closer smartphone ownership numbers, with 68% of Americans owning smartphones, according to Pew Research).


Sure, some predictions will be spot on, some may miss the mark, and still others may only hint at a fraction of new capabilities and industries that technology will bring. The bigger story is the change and possibility that lies ahead: quite frequently, predictions like these foreshadow the technologies and culture shifts that will eventually shape our everyday lives.

Oh, and about those flying cars? Last year, a Slovakian company revealed the prototype of a vehicle known as the AeroMobil 3.0: an elongated, road-ready vehicle with stowable wings, able to navigate both city traffic and the airspace in between landings and take-offs from the world’s airports. While it will supposedly be ready for sale in 2017, it will come with a price tag that “falls somewhere in between the latest offerings from Tesla Motors and a small plane.”

That may be a little out of my price range, but if I’ve learned anything from today’s flashback session, it’s that I am genuinely excited to see what changes and developments technology will bring us in the next few years. Maybe I will find myself behind the wheel of a flying car after all… or at least maybe doing their PR. 😉