Almost a year ago I posted eight predictions for communication in 2014 and now as we near the end of the year I thought it was worth reflecting on whether they were accurate or not. It was 1 January 2014 when I considered the environment and then made my suggestions. So let’s have a look at where we have come.
1. Content not channels – I predicted that the talk would move away from focusing on channels such as Facebook and Twitter and instead would consider content as the priority. This is something that I think has happened to some extent. Some groups will still focus on one network but the more advanced communicators are now talking about how to make great content and then tailor it to specific networks.
2. Smaller teams – this was an inevitability for me as I work in the public sector. There has been some small reduction in the resources and staff available to support communication activity. I can see this increasing in 2015 given the recent public sector budget settlement announcement. There does seem to be slight improvement in the job market but the roles are developing to be multi-skilled communicators rather than specialists.
3. Expectations will increase – this was another one that had an inevitability to it. But I don’t think I knew how much expectations would increase at a time of reducing budgets. The public and media have little tolerance for the discussion about prioritisation or funding being the reason their expectations are not being met. People are demanding to do business in the ways that suit them and if organisations are not set up to deal with them they have little patience. I feel 2014 was the year where patience seemed to be in short supply, unless it appeared that way because of the media approach to stories.
4. Breaking down boundaries – I predicted that communicators would be able to take a step into a more fundamental role in organisations being able to effect change and culture. I see this as an opportunity that still exists but many are reluctant or unable to take it up. Some of the problems can be the daily grind of work and limited resources but also for many there is a concern about stepping into this broader role.
5. Wearable technology – I said that if the real benefits could be demonstrated and they became more stylish then wearable technology would take off. It may not still be commonplace but it definitely has become more accepted. More people have watches that link to their phone and we are waiting for the Apple version out in Spring 2015. There has been a huge growth in the use of body worn video by police, and individuals are using cameras on bicycles and uploading examples of dangerous drivers to YouTube on a daily basis. It is here and we can expect more.
6. Social integration – it was a phrase I enjoyed which basically meant that social would become more than engagement and needed to be brought into other organisational systems. This is definitely here with most communicators working with customer service staff, operational staff, call centres to be able to provide a more rounded social media offering to customers.
7. Google+ – I thought that we could see a growth in popularity of Google+ and while there has been some increase in use it is still unfortunately waiting in the wings. The functionality is good, very good and so I still feel if the network is continuously developed then it will find its place. The use of hangouts by many people and groups, including for courses through Coursera and others, has brought Google+ into people’s sights.
8. Privacy issues – the debate has continued with concern about data breaches and the amount of information that is gathered and retained without people’s knowledge or understanding. But despite this the use of social media continues to increase and the use of security settings is not really understood. The outrage about use of data gathered is quickly forgotten as people accept the risks for the benefits the use of networks brings.
So much for 2014. The predictions seemed to have some relevance in many areas. In the next couple of days I will turn my attention to 2015 and a few more predictions for the 12 months ahead.
Happy New Year and if you have some suggestions for 2015 predictions let me know.