2008 in the Crosshairs

crysalball.jpgNow that I’ve sang “Auld Lang Syne“, waxed sentimentally on 2007 and wiped a tear, here comes the companion piece, 2008 predictions.

I’m not a huge fan of predictions, unless I happen to be right. I still think Google will acquire Salesforce.com; that’s my story, and I sticking to it. But, in the spirit of fun, here go three gems you can take or leave.

Twitter will take off, then crash and burn
You heard it here first. I was shocked to hear that Twitter had only 720,000 odd users. Based on the noise level around it, I would have taken the over and laughed. This does not bode well for long term prospects because all the noise around Twitter is primarily from the blogging echo chamber, not from real users. As a parallel, Facebook had tens of millions of users way back in late 2006 when it began its rise to the Web 2.0 inner circle.

As I’ve said before, I love Twitter, but did anyone else think it was funny that several posts complained about Twitter’s aggregated 10 days of downtime in 2007? That was only from February to December. The horror! Days without Twitter, whatever shall we do? Geek and Poke has an idea.

I expect 2008 will see Twitter ramp way up, topping a million early next year. Anyone who’s used Twitter at all knows it’s all about who you follow and less so about who follows you, and the nature of Twitter makes it more interactive than other networks. More users makes more noise and more spam, which will actually break down the network effects.

Another annoying effect of more users is ads. Why ads? Because more users means more power/ping/pipe, and that ain’t cheap. How do you pay for it? Follow the one true Interwebs business model, sell ads. Of course, Twitter is all about its API, which allows for cool clients and other non-Twitter.com use. D’oh!

So, shut off the API, driving away a huge percentage of the traffic. And drive away the early adopters. Doesn’t everyone follow the early adopters, e.g. Scoble, Dave Winer, Jeremiah Owyang, Fred Wilson, etc. Nuts. Now we’ve got no one to follow.

By Fall, the A-List bloggers will have moved on to another next new thing, and Twitter will wither and die. Maybe I should start a save Twitter fund now to prepare.

Videoblogging will make me care less
This one’s easy for me. I’ve never been a fan of podcasting, so ignoring videoblogging is a no-brainer for me. I like being able to scan a blog post for content that interesting. I do not like having to wade through a recording to collect bits of useful information.

Generally, people take more care with what they write than with what they say because it’s so much harder to write than to talk. Look at Justin.tv and iJustine. What could be easier than recording your life. YouTube’s success is another example, i.e. user-generated video is funny first, informational second. Do you think YouTube would be half as successful had it been purely focused on information/education?

Until proven otherwise, I’m putting all videoblogging into the “entertaining, but not useful” category. Yeah, I’m sure there’s good content out there, but most of it is messy and embarrassing, as proven by this classic from Jim Choma.

TV on the Interwebs will create awesomeness
While I’m on the entertainment trail, how long has it taken to get TV episodes online? Finally in 2007, major studios started posting full episodes online. Finally. In 2007. Why did this take so long?

This is a cash cow for studios, writer’s strike aside, because now, they can reach foreign markets. For example, I asked Craig over Twitter if he watched Chuck, which is a fun romp for geeks. Natch, he said no because he’s in Germany, and there’s no NBC. Not to worry, Chuck’s first season is available online. Done and done.

Guess who’s advertisers just got access to a brand, spanking new demographic? Putting TV online is a game-changer, and 2008 will be an upside-down year for TV, especially with the HD-only broadcast deadline looming in 2009.

I guess if you’re not into TV, then this one’s moot.

What are you predicting for 2008?




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