Predicting how the PR and communications scene – defined as anything that impacts a person’s or organization’s image – will unfold over the next 12 months is not a job for the squeamish.
As for last year’s predictions, one out of nine ain’t bad. I believe a Meatloaf verse makes that very point.
Look, anyone can crunch the data to cough up answers. My dot connecting depends on old-school techniques.
Here it goes—
1. The Pope’s Selfie Goes Viral
With over three million followers on Twitter, the Pope goes all-in on social media. His selfie at Easter Mass ends up being the most popular photo on Instagram in 2014.
2. Just When the NSA Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse
Revelations come to the fore that the NSA has invented a paint that listens to people. Benjamin Moore claims the government forced the collaboration that saw microscopic audio sensors embedded in latex paint. Later, a congressional hearing uncovers “Operation Knock Knock,” a plan to paint homes in Afghanistan.
3. Kanye West Picks On Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Kanye West’s beat down of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh – “your shoes suck” – generated so much attention last year that his PR team decide a CEO attack should become an annual event. This year’s campaign takes on Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk with West rapping, “liar, liar, car’s on fire.”
4. Warren Buffett Increases Twitter Output by 300%
Confessing he just doesn’t get Twitter, Buffett cajoles pal Bill Gates to help him with one tweet per month, a 300 percent increase on his total of four tweets in 2013. Who knew Buffett cared so much about Africa?
5. The Chinese Buy PRSA
In a move the Wall Street Journal calls “audacious, but genius,” Xi Jinping signs off on the Chinese government acquiring the Public Relations Society of America. A spokesperson from PRSA explains the organization will gain access to greater resources and disputes the rumor there’s a name change in the offing.
6. Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher Launch AllThingsV
Rupert Murdoch might have buried the AllThingsD brand, but Mossberg and Swisher have the last laugh with the creation of AllThingsV. It turns out that the venture capital business suits the pair. Mossberg insists they’re following the time-honored path of many journalists like Woodward and Bernstein who “followed the money.”
Side note: Yes, I know the word is out that the Mossberg-Swisher duo just launched Recode. But it’s still possible that venture capital will find its way into the business model
7. Twitter’s Decision to Shorten Tweets is Short Lived
A firestorm ensues when Twitter announces the “New Twitter,” a 120-character package, replaces the old format. Less than 24 hours later, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo reverses course saying “we thought we could broaden the service’s appeal if a tweet required less work.”
8. VentureBeat Creates Community Platform Called “Burnt Toast”
The story by VentureBeat journalist Jolie O’Dell, on how the San Francisco tech industry propagates four-dollar toast, crushed a nerve. Seizing the opportunity, VB develops a community platform called “Burnt Toast” where people from all over the world share complaints and photos about the cost of toast.
9. The Bezo-izing of the Washington Post
In spite of Jeff Bezos’ promise to stay hands-off at the Washington Post, a photo goes viral depicting desks in the newsroom being replaced by used doors with wooden posts.
10. 7-Eleven Outbids Starbucks for Product Placement on The Voice
NBC secures a record fee for product placement as 7-Eleven bumps Starbucks as the refreshments of choice for The Voice. But by week 3, it’s clear that Blake is the only judge enjoying the Slurpee and beef jerkey combo. Things go downhill from there.
Feel free to add to the list.
One thing we know for sure, the next 12 months will bring us plenty of life-is-better-than-fiction events.
Wishing everyone a healthy and inspirational 2014.
Side note: If you’d like turn back the clock, check out my “Predictions for the Communications Industry in 2010.”