This month’s Carnival of Journalism looks forward to new media developments in the coming year. Here are my no doubt misguided and naive predictions:
2009 will not be the year of the mobile web
Every year we make end of year predictions that the coming year will finally see the mobile web hit the mainstream. In many ways, it already has. But any expectations of there being some significant spread in 2009 will be scuppered by the credit crunch: users will be increasingly reluctant to spend money on a smart phone as the purse strings tighten. We’re not all going to be carrying around iPhones.
On the plus side, as a result of that slowdown we can expect mobile service providers to become more competitive in their data rates and packages, so that those who do have smart phones will have more reason to take out a mobile web package.
We can also expect to see increasing numbers of retailers offering free wifi to attract customers, as Pret A Manger have done, or government investment in wifi clouds to stimulate growth. So those who do access the web on the move – not just mobile phones but laptops and ipods – could start to do so more.
2009 will not be the year of the semantic web
The semantic web holds enormous promise for journalism, but it’s still early days and even the best products are far from mass market. I don’t expect that to change any time soon. However…
In 2009 Google will look more vulnerable than ever
Google has been fiddling with its successful formula, trying to keep users within its verticals and getting greedy for user data. It is weakest on local search and semantic search and both those areas should see a lot of development in 2009. In 2010, however, Google will probably simply buy the best competitors.
2009 will see social media getting lean – and mean
Social media startups who do not want to join Pownce on the scrapheap will stop developing extra features, trim others, and focus on their core business. Oh, and they’ll be under increasing pressure to actually start coming up with business models too, which means more advertising (if they can sell it), more e-commerce, and less stuff for free. All of which will mean less innovation, fewer users and startups without deep pockets joining Pownce on the scrapheap.
2009 will see a lot of thinking and little action
All those redundant journalists, publishers, developers, and estate agents will have plenty of time to reflect on how their industries are changing, to play around with online tools, meet people online and offline, and come up with ideas on where to go next.
They’ll be doing this in an environment where funds are beginning to appear that enable them to act on those. In the UK at least there is £1billion from NESTA, £50m from 4iP, £1m from the Scottish government and various other pots of money aimed at maintaining economic growth.
So by 2010, when the bids have been put in, funds released, and pilots completed, we should see some very interesting new media indeed.