The Scotsman has one of the more useful predictions for 2005 lists that I’ve read over the past week or so. They write about the 10 trends that will shape 2005. I think its a worthwhile list for enterprising bloggers to consider – it might just give you a hint or two for some new directions for the year of blogging ahead. Here are the 10 trends with a few of my comments of explanation and dreaming on each.
1. Age complexity – Kids are growing up faster and adults are behaving more like kids. A number of successful blogs already tap into this – for example Gawker’s Kotaku is one that springs to mind – targeting adult males with a blog about games. In fact a few of Gawker’s blogs seem to be tapping into this playful zone.
2. Gender complexity - Distinctions between the genders continue to blur. Whilst I’m not sure this is just something for 2005 (its been going on for years) I’ve noticed in the past couple of years some interesting developments in our own community. For example I’ve noticed more groups for dads who are stay at home parents, there has been an increase in emphasis on beauty tips/ plastic surgery etc for males etc. I’ve not seen too many blogs tapping into either of these markets yet – maybe something to explore?
3. Lifestage complexity - Increases in people living alone, not getting married, not having kids. The definition of ‘family’ is definitely changing. Again there is nothing new about this – its been a trend of the past decade or so. I’m not sure how an enterprising blogger would tap into this one – any ideas?
4. Income complexity - (sounds like 2005 will be a ‘complex’ year!) – People are scrimping and saving in some areas to enable them to spurge in others. So on one hand discount supermarkets are booming but so is the market for Luxury items and the Travel industry. Luxist is a blog that is tapping into some of this with its main focus being Luxury in all its forms. Maybe another approach could be a blog about scrimping and saving?
5. Individualism – a growing desire for personalization and a continued emphasis upon ‘self’. The choice that we have these days is incredible – take a walk down the isles of your local supermarket and see the hundreds of options that you have for different types of toothpaste or cola drinks. Each different variety is targeted for different individual tastes. In a sense blogging and RSS taps right into this trend. Now we no longer go to the news stand to buy a generic newspaper or magazine that we have no involvement in in what is presented to us – instead we can each tailor the news we want to read by subscribing to a completely unique mix of RSS feeds. Technology that helps people do this simply is an area that I suspect we’ll see continued leaps forward in over the next year.
6. Homing - individuals and families are spending more and more time on their homes. I don’t know about where you live, but the last two years have seen TV show after TV show about renovations, gardening, DIY etc. Hardware shops are booming as people jump onto the home improvement bandwagon. I’ve seen a few ‘home improvement’ type blogs around but few seem to be doing more than recording their own personal renovations experiences.
7. Connectivity – This covers everything from our increased connection to technology (when was the last time you didn’t get online or connect with someone on your cell phone etc) through to the desire that people have for community and belonging (quite ironic as we’re also into individualism) , through to our desire to tap into what is happening on the other side of the world. Take a look at the way the world has tapped into what has been happening in Asia this week and you’ll see the advances in connectivity that we’ve experienced in the last few years. Again there are a lot of blogs already tapping into this trend and blogging in and of itself really is all about this. I actually think this is one of the key reasons that people both read and write blogs – there is something inside of us that wants to have a voice and to connect with others.
8. Sensory experiences – Extreme experiences are in. In the 80s and 90s I think the major focus for many people was about accumulating ‘stuff’ – in this decade I see a lot more people accumulating experiences. No longer is it just cool to have a great apartment filled with cool furniture – today to be cool you also have to have travelled, skydived, bungee jumped from a skyscraper, eaten blowfish in Milan, dived with sharks and circumvented the globe solo in a bathtub. Not only that – the senses are in. If you haven’t read the wonderful book Lovemarks can i suggest you stop reading this article now until you’ve gone to Amazon and ordered yourself a copy. I would put it in my top 2 or 3 books of the year and its all about marketing in a way that engages the senses. I think its highly relevant to blogging and myself am wanting in 2005 to make my blogs a more sensual experience for my readers (does that sound kinky?).
How do we tap into this as bloggers? There are already heaps of blogs that do – for me there are opportunities in how we design our blogs but also in choice of topics. Recipe blogs, photologs, video blogs, podcasting – these all attempt to engage the senses.
9. Convenience – Multitasking, drive-through, convergence devices (ie my PDA can also be my phone, a gaming device, a camera and an MP3 player) and fast food are just a few of the ways we tap into convenience. Life is fast, we need a quick fix and we want everything now. Again blogging taps into this but I suspect we’ll see more technologies emerge in the coming year that take blogging to an even higher level of convenience. People are working on ways to get their blogs readable on PDAs and mobile phones, more and more alert systems are popping up that enable your readers to be notified the moment you post – will can only increase.
10. Health - the health industry is and will continue to boom. Studies have show that people are more concerned about health and well being than ever before. The organic food industry here in Australia is booming, natural health, mineral supplements, probiotics, personal fitness etc are all industries that are getting more and more attention. Already many blogs are rising to the challenge in these areas and I suspect we’ll see a lot more emerge in 2005.
So there you have it – 10 trends that Professional Bloggers might want to consider as they gaze into the crystal ball of 2005. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and suggestions of how you and others you’ve observed have tapped into some of these (and other) trends already. Maybe some of us could collaborate on some of them even.
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