2013 - Digital Trends close
The Edward Snowden NSA Leak
In June, Edward Snowden became a household name when he leaked a vast amount of classified material collected by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to the global press. Lauded as a hero by some and condemned as a traitor by others, Snowden’s actions raised significant questions as to the extent to which the public’s digital lives are monitored. Now residing in Russia where he has been granted temporary asylum, Snowden has been charged by the American authorities but it is still unclear whether he will ever stand trial. The future too remains uncertain as to how the issue of digital surveillance will resolve itself.
2013 has certainly been the year of the selfie. With public figures like Barack Obama and David Cameron, recently getting involved in the worldwide craze, it would seem that there are no limits to its popularity. Arguably, the selfie has been boosted by the popularity of apps like Instagram and Snapchat alongside the ever increasing emphasis on the vanity of social media. However, the endorsement of world leaders suggest that this craze has some longevity and might simply be the new way to represent the self in the digital age.
TV on Demand
In 2013, everyone seemed to be watching Breaking Bad. Moreover, everyone seemed to be watching it on Netflix. Finally, a company had managed to monetise an area that had operated illegally for years. This came as a result of the realisation that people love to watch TV series and don’t really mind paying for it (if the fee isn’t too high, and it prevents them from future legal ramifications). The question is: how will this service evolve in 2014 and if the focus is shifted more towards film, should cinemas begin to worry?
Love it or hate it, the popularity of the dating app, Tinder, is on the rise. The simple interface coupled with the ease in which users can connect with others, has made it one of 2013’s most popular apps. The idea is this: users are presented with images of potential partners nearby and have to either swipe right of left judging by whether they find the person hot or not. Users are only connected when they both ‘like’ each other so people aren’t bombarded with endless requests. In terms of whether the success will continue, it is still too early to tell, but it will be interesting to monitor the app's development next year.
As aforementioned, the popularity of the selfie was in some way down to the amazingly successful picture messaging app, Snapchat. A simple idea, the app works on the premise that a picture can say more than words (even though you can add text). It is an extremely easy and fun way to communicate between friends and family. As well as images, Snapchat also supports short video content. However, will the app’s novelty value diminish in the future? Furthermore, the popular photo and video sharing social network, Instagram, has recently introduced a private messaging feature to rival Snapchat. So, could 2014 see Instagram develop into the most popular social network? Interestingly, tomorrow is the launch of our latest app, Flow - the missing iPad app for Instagram! (there is currently no official app available for the iPad). Visit http://www.theflowapp.com/ for more information.
Bitcoin is a fascinating movement in the world of digital finance. As an idea, it has the potential to change the world forever, but equally, it could simply fade away. It seems that at the moment, the majority of people are struggling with the concept of completely losing the ability to possess money in its physical form. However, it does seem logical that this is the way that finance will progress. Yet, it appears that banks and governments are wary, possibly because they understand its threat as they cannot control it. Watch this space!
The iPhone 5s and 5c
The launch of the new iPhone is always something worth reporting in a digital assessment of any year. However, it seems that Apple weren’t as successful as imagined with their latest efforts. Aside from an improved camera and other minor features, the new handsets didn’t offer much more than the previous models. This means that 2014 will be an important year for Apple and with the rise of Samsung, the tech giant needs to do something special in order to keep on top of their game.
2013 has seen a sharp increase in brands focusing on content marketing as opposed to traditional methods. The idea of content marketing is to create interesting and valuable content in order to influence and change consumer attitudes and habits. So, in essence, marketing without selling. The aim is to provide quality content to customers and in turn, make them more likely to reward you with their loyalty. This has come as a result of brands becoming more aware of consumer cynicism and are thus using content marketing to build lasting relationships.
Location based marketing will take hold in 2014 with the number of smartphone users set to increase. This will lead on to developments in native advertising within social media sites as brands look to target the area more as it houses the majority of users at any given time. Wearable technology will dominate 2014 with the launch of Google Glass, which will open up new possibilities for marketing as it looks set to completely revolutionise the way we use technology. Furthermore, with the aforementioned launch of Instagram’s photo messaging service, the battle against Snapchat and WhatsApp will be interesting to observe.