Reflecting on 2015

Twelve months ago I made eight predictions for communication in 2015 and what professionals and teams may face. Now is the time of reckoning when I need to look back and see whether it was accurate or not. In general I think there were a number that we saw come into existence and one or two that I believe we will have to wait longer to see.

The first statement was about communication becoming even more important but without any additional resource or support. I know personally this has been my experience during 2015. The work of my team has never been more important and the impact it can have is definitely recognised. Work and demand has continued without any additional resource being made available. It has brought with it huge challenges but I like to try and see the opportunities that exist.

If we look on a wider scale then communication has been important for many organisations. And with many emergencies and crises, including the flooding seen before Christmas, getting the right information to the right people was critical.

Secondly, I predicted that there would be a growth in focus of smaller social networks or those beyond Twitter and Facebook. Again, I have seen this happen with us professionally looking to make greater and better use of everything from Instagram to Snapchat and many others. Many of these are no longer in the ‘small’ category. The social media landscape is now more complex and developed with something for everyone. As communicators we still have a lot to learn.

Privacy and security were the focus of my third prediction. This is very true. Concern about who is accessing our information and how they may be doing it is front and centre of thoughts as we head into 2016. I still feel business and organisations are not ready for cyber attacks and they should be with the terrorist activity we have seen in 2015.

The fourth prediction was about ‘going viral’ and the need to have the next big social media event. I still speak to many people who are looking for one quick hit and success for their business rather than being prepared to put the hard work in on a daily basis. Perhaps we can educate those in positions of authority in 2016 that social media is about a long term conversation not a quick viral success.

I then considered the impact of non-news news sites like Buzzfeed and how they will be increasingly dominant in 2015. I think we have seen a further growth in this area. If we remember it was Vice that the Eagles of Death Metal gave a detailed interview to after the November terrorist attack in Paris.

One thing that I think we are still waiting to see really grow is the ability to be able to buy things through Twitter and Facebook and other social networks. It is slowly growing but there is much more that can be developed in this area. I will watch with interest what happens in 2016.

The internet of things was the focus of my seventh prediction. And while it is talked about a lot, I am sure many people still don’t really understand what it is and where it is. However, if we look around us then there is so much more that is now connected. If you watch any Dragon’s Den programme you will see people connecting items even when there really is no benefit from doing this.

Finally, my eight prediction was probably not a surprise that in an election year we would have politics everywhere. The first six months of the year it was difficult to escape the daily announcements and claims from every political party. But even after the election there is still a huge amount of interest in the political landscape probably brought about because of Jeremy Corbyn and the impact of terrorist activity.

2015 was an interesting year and while it brought some huge challenges for anyone working in communications it also had opportunities that we could grasp. I will be considering the next 12 months and if you have any predictions for communication professionals then let me know them.

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