Is it already February? Well, nothing starts a year off like a few predictions for hot new trends in the online mediaverse! While we saw many innovative ideas take off in 2006 - virtual communities, social networks, and other new media platforms - this year I think we'll see the launch of even more offbeat ideas, and I've noticed that they're already spawning unique behavioral trends. Here's my list of the top four macro and mini trends:
>Warholism Today's youths truly believe that they will be famous for at least 15 minutes! With sites such as MySpace and YouTube, user-generated content is opening up opportunities left and right. And of course there's still reality TV to help with the fame game. But it's not just teens entering the spotlight. Fisher Price recently launched a toy called the Star Station that allows the user to perform karaoke as it is broadcast on the TV! Now three-year-olds across the country can become their own stage mothers. How will this shape their generation?
>Technoholics Technology will again reign supreme in 2007. From computers to cell phones to gaming machines, youths will be fascinated with all things hi-tech. With innovative products for tweens such as the Nintendo DS, with its text-messaging capabilities, technology is getting more manageable for the younger set. Systems such as the Wii will make gaming as a family activity even stronger in '07.
>Massclusivity It was one of my favorites in 2006, and creating exclusive products for the masses is only getting bigger in 2007. The iPod is a good example. Massclusivity is popping up everywhere. You can already customize your TV viewing, music listening and clothing items, and 2007 will see the birth of even simpler massclusive products.
>Celeb-Zero While weekly entertainment magazines may be selling millions on the newsstands, they have led to the creation of this last trend, celeb-zero. Young consumers used to aspire to be like their favorite celebrities. But with these weeklies and Web sites such as tmz.com, not to mention countless blogs reporting on every celeb dirty deed, the famous have lost their effectiveness with the youth audience. Couple this trend with Warholism and you quickly get the picture: Why would I want to fawn over you as a pill-popping, no-underwear-wearing, dumb celeb when I can launch my own blog/YouTube show and garner fans myself?
Marketers will have to rethink the celebrity endorsement strategy: As consumers lose faith in former icons, stars are unable to remain aspirational.
Along with these macrotrends, there are, of course, a few minitrends to be followed in 2007:
>Social Networking 2.0 More niche networks will appear and thrive with targeted groups.
>Retail Experience Youthful shoppers will be apt to spend more time in the malls this year. Retailers such as Hollister are burning up the youth market, and with the relaunch of Macy's, malls will once again become a popular destination.
>Girls Gaming More It's becoming cooler and more fashionable for girls to play video games. Nintendo DS even comes in a cute pink color for girls. Online sites such as Yahoo feature female-friendly games.
>Books Are Important Even though periodical readership is declining, I think that young people will become interested in reading books again this year. All it takes is the launch of one interesting series to ignite the reading flame. There will be a piqued interest in history - of music, fashion, even the U.S.