Now thatâ€™s 2004 Iâ€™ll go ahead and do my part in predicting what weâ€™ll see in the year ahead. The predictions below are completely unscientific and highly biasedâ€¦
- Weblogs will continue to grow in visibility (I know- no duh). But I think that weâ€™ll see even more mainstream coverage- the Weblog phenomenon will grace the cover of a news magazine like Time or Newsweek- possibly based on the success of the Dean campaign.
- This increase in visibility will cause many non-high-tech companies to look for ways to make weblog content a part of their front page. 2004 will mark the end of static content on many business web sites. Weâ€™ll start to see major corporate web sites include constantly updated, conversational resources on their front pages.
- RSS will get a new name and a newsreader application will emerge as the best-in-class. This will help it start to move from the realm of early adopters to the mainstream. However, it wonâ€™t be truly mainstream until 2006.
- RSS will be showing up everywhere. As Jeremy Zawodny put it:
Remember when you first starting seeing URLs appear on billboards and at the end of movie trailers? So do I. It's going to be like that. One day we're just going to look around and realize that RSS is popping up all over the place. And a couple years later, we'll all wonder how we ever got along without it.
- For the first time, weâ€™ll see a report that spam is decreasing. This will be because of new tools and the growing awareness that buying from a spammer is like feeding a stray cat. The business model will show the first signs of crumbling. Anti-spam legislation will have little affect on the spammers.
- The Dean campaign will be victorious. History will show that Dean won because he was able to use the Internet and grassroots efforts to encourage the young and disenfranchised to vote. People who previously did not vote will come out in great numbers to support Dean.
- Social Software like Friendster, Linked-In, Tribe, Huminity, etc, will continue to grow and experience growing pains. As a side effect, businesses will look for ways to enable Friendster-like connections between customers.
And, of course...
- Common Craft will grow quickly and become a leading consultancy in the field of helping businesses use weblogs and online communities to connect with customers, save support costs and increase market visibility.