Commentary

Reflecting On 2022

  • by , Featured Contributor, December 16, 2021

It’s that time again. 2021 is ending and 2022 is almost upon us.

It’s a great time for reflection. I’m not a big fan of dwelling on the past, so my reflections here will focus on the future.

For every year since as long as I can remember (which is pretty long), I go into the next year even more optimistic than when I entered it. Yes, 2021 has been tough in many ways, but disruption brings opportunity and therefore hope. I am a big believer in the power and resilience of humans and society. Here are my thoughts:

COVID is here to stay. I suspect that everyone is now coming to a place where they realize that we aren’t going to have a new, post-COVID normal that mirrors our old normal. COVID is now an endemic part of our lives, and continues to shape and change how we work, raise our families and live our lives.

Now that we know what this means, we can better move forward into learning how to live with it in the safest and most productive ways possible. 2022 will be the year that we figure this out.

“Appification” of consumer economy mainstreams even more. There is a lot of talk about the coming of Web 3.0 (crypto), but its first (world-wide web) and second (networks and apps) generations are still quite young and are quietly becoming better, faster, simpler -- and, most importantly, more ubiquitous and integrated into every consumer’s life.

It’s no longer just activities like news reading, phone calls and messaging that are now app-based for virtually everyone, but bigger parts of people’s lives like working, going to school, grocery shopping, working out, parenting and driving.

Society confronts a future where our “life operating systems” are increasingly controlled by ad-supported tech companies. Six of the 10 most valuable companies in the world derive a significant portion of their profits today directly or indirectly through data-driven digital advertising, and their share of total ad spend is growing much faster than their smaller competitors.

This is not new. Companies that dominated the world of advertising, media, news and information were always valuable, and many built monopolistic positions in the process. However, those companies were rarely able to also build dominant positions in consumers’ access to life essentials like food, shelter, communications, health care and government services.

But this is the future emerging now. Governments, regulators, politicians and non-governmental organizations all see it now, quite clearly. We are all gaining massively from the technical innovations of these companies, and the speed and efficiency of their services.

In 2022, I expect to see governments step in much more aggressively than they have in the past, and begin to weigh regulatory balances. This isn’t just about who controls access to our news, information and entertainment (which are already enormously important), it is now also about who controls access to our basic human needs.

The government interventions won’t all be pretty or well-executed, but I’m confident we’ll end next year with more knowledge and transparency of our dependencies on these companies, and some not-so-insignificant steps taken to shape some better future controls.

What do you see for 2022?

5 comments about "Reflecting On 2022".
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  1. Paul Bledsoe from Bledsoe Advertising/Productions, December 17, 2021 at 10:01 a.m.

    Dave, you have great points. What do I see in 2022, hopefully, individuals finally awaking to the controlled culture that seems to surround us in everyday life. As we revolve around our world with a handheld device, we finally notice, who is controlling us and why do I think this way. Americans are smart and for the most part, have common sense. We will see a revelation of new approaches to our communication by just talking to one another and living a life that best respects American values and the success of individuals that strive to be their best.

  2. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, December 17, 2021 at 10:22 a.m.

    Thanks Paul. Yes. I do think that we're going to see both significant awakening to the control and new approaches to deal with it.

  3. R.J. Lewis from e-Healthcare Solutions, LLC, December 17, 2021 at 3:58 p.m.

    Dave,

    Couldn't agree more, in fact I think we cover some of the same ground.  Here are my predictions for 2022 with respect to Pharma Marketing:  https://www.pharma-mkting.com/articles/2022-predictions-from-the-front-lines-of-pharma-digital-advertising/ 

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 17, 2021 at 5:39 p.m.

    Whether it's 2022 or 2023 or even 2024, Dave, I think that the big tech folks as well as the social media kingpins by virtue of their arrogance have made it almost certain that the feds will  step in and start breaking up the "monoplies" and/or regulating their practices. History tells us that this kind of thing has happened before---- to radio in the early 1940s and TV in the early 1970s---in both cases about two decades after their arrival on the media scene. It looks as if  the same time table will apply again---perhaps a little later than before---- to the internet. As you say, it will probably be a messy affair as the feds are driven mainly by political motives but in the long run it may prove a good thing---once the initial mistakes one can expect from such interventions get sorted out.

  5. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, December 17, 2021 at 6:37 p.m.

    Ed, for sure, it seems that the monopolistic parallels with newspaper companies and TV companies in the middle of the last century are very relevant here.

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