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Big Trends Done Quickly

Keith over at PRWeek asked for some thoughts on the most important trend, tool, service, company, or whatever will be in the second half of 2006. Here are my quick thoughts done late at night and on the fly. Caveat – when it comes to predictions I am normally wrong… Let me know your thoughts…

  1. Trend: Communities and their citizen editors reassembling the fragmented media and conversation space creating powerful micro channels to which millions flock.
  2. Company : The one with the biggest community. Think Nike, Apple, VW, Lego. …ok, so I wimped out… Apple if they can integrate the iPod, video and phone fully. And Microsoft – the degree to which key technologies such as RSS is implemented in IE7, Vista and Office 2007 is fantastic.
  3. Technology : The Wiki & Community creation platform (think FiveAcross). Service:SixApart, (TypePad, Vox). And, Dabble db – finally we can build our own applications in real-time! And iTunes – what AP/PR Newswire was to the press release, iTunes is to the Podcast.
  4. Person: . The blogger, podcaster, vcaster and participatory communicator.

Saying all that… some expanded thoughts… No company matters as much as the community. Communities are ascending as defining force. Nike matters less to me as a soccer fan than the Nike community Joga.com. The companies that matter to consumers will be those with rich communities. Other thoughts on what might happen:

  1. Fortune 500 corporations hire their first “conversationalists” – staffers dedicated not to transmitting information (PR) but rather, igniting conversations.
  2. Media continues to fragment and reassemble around citizen editors.
  3. PR continues its rapid evolution from transmission of content to igniting conversations.
  4. Measurement takes a backseat to monitoring as communicators efforts to keep track of the blogosphere and citizen media kick into overdrive. In background mode, measurement practioners start working on new metrics that track participation.
  5. Major agencies launch new press release formats, following hot on the heels of tech boutique Shift. BusinessWire and PRNewswire wake from their slumber and assemble these fragmented efforts into a compelling Web 2.0 offerings.
  6. Having discovered the power of technology to add value to their clients, major agencies step-up their efforts with branded RSS readers carrying highly customized content to audiences and customers.
  7. As media fragmentation accelerates, media planning starts to raise its head as a critical communications function. Once the purview of advertising departments, communications practioners deliver media planning as a means of hunting and communicating with elusive audiences.
  8. More than half the PR profession is still in catch-up mode. They don’t listen to podcasts, use RSS readers or blog. Therefore, the most important technology isn’t the technology, it’s the adoption of it which will continue to accelerate.
  9. The Wiki & Web 2.0 technologies such as Writely and Dabble db. They will change the way PR practitioners work internally and share with clients.
  10. OMPL files finally start getting integrated into marketing offerings.

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