What to Watch Out For in 2012: Four Huge Trends and Issues that Will Make Waves
This coming year is sure to bring a lot of surprises, and while it's impossible to predict exactly how the next 12 months will go, 2011 has provided us with hints of things that the world needs to pay attention to and watch out for in 2012.
Listed below are a few issues and trends that are bound to keep showing up in 2012. Whether you're an entrepreneur, a marketer, or just an everyday consumer, it's best to pay attention to these matters and trends, because they will, almost certainly, determine the course of this coming year.
1. SOPA – Currently making its way into Congress is the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that aims to curb piracy and Intellectual Property theft on the Internet. While the reasons behind this bill are noble and valid, it's been met by fierce protests from various Internet companies due its broad and unconstitutional proposals. SOPA mandates ISPs, search engines, advertisers, and even payment services to police websites that are believed to be in violation of Intellectual Property. It basically gives the government the power to shut down entire websites and erase them from search engines just because someone believes that said websites are publishing infringing content.
Congress has adjourned without making a decision on the bill and is set to discuss it again when they reconvene in 2012. Be sure to keep an eye out for SOPA (as well as its sister, "Protect IP Act or PIPA") because they will most certainly affect the websites that you visit—and possibly even your own. You can learn more about this bill's dangerous ramifications in our recent blog post, How SOPA Could Ruin Your Online Business.
2. Mobile devices... and beyond – We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Nowadays, smartphones and tablets are practically glued to the hands of people, and brands need to explore the different mobile opportunities that they can use. However, it's not just about phones and tablets anymore; the world is entering an era where more and more objects can connect to the Internet. Heck, even TVs and cars can go online now.
Of course, this isn't to say that you should start building a television or vehicle-compatible website, but it would be wise to keep an eye on this growing trend. After all, it wouldn't be such a stretch to predict that by the end of 2012, people will be able to access apps and social networks using their car's dashboard.
3. "There's an app for that" – Speaking of going mobile, it's important to note that 2012 isn't just going to be about mobile devices... it's also going to be about mobile apps. The concept of having an app for EVERYTHING is practically at a literal level, and by the end of next year, it might very well be. More and more companies are building apps that allow people to do things that they couldn't normally do on a smartphone until now. For instance, did you know that there’s an app that lets the carwash come to your car instead of the other way around?
Yes, it's these "outside the box" ideas that are sure to thrive in 2012. With this in mind, you might want to ask yourself, if any of the products or services that you offer be accessed using a user's phone. Perhaps it's time to build an app that can complement what your business has to offer.
4. The End of the World – As you've probably heard, the Mayan calendar predicts that the world as we know it will end in 2012. Now, this claim isn't new at all; in fact, the entertainment industry has been capitalizing on it for years. However, now that THE year has finally arrived, talks about the apocalypse are bound to get louder. The end of the world is predicted to be a frequent trending topic in 2012, so why not reference to it in a tweet or blog post every once in a while? Strive to be creative in finding how you can relate your brand to the Mayan calendar's prediction. Pete Cashmore of Mashable and Rick DeJarnette of Search Engine Land were able to do it, why not follow suit?
Image credit: Daily Cool Pics