Wow, happy new year! What a year that passed! 2021 felt like a series of ups and downs.
I personally have felt the challenges and I am optimistic that 2022 will we can grow and pivot, to take on new perspectives and implement novel approaches to engaging with people in our networks and growing our communities and businesses.
I’m interested in the following trends:
- IRL aka in real life will be more important as people seek authentic experiences (not VR)
- E-learning becomes more interactive via apps like Flipboard
- Instagram and Facebook lose importance as we turn to Twitter, TikTok and other platforms
- Personal websites grow as people tire of Big Social and want to create their own spaces
- Marketing becoming more personalized, outreach to individual clients is paramount
People Have a Desire to Do Things in Real Life (IRL)
As a teacher and designer, I’m curious how education merges with tech and design. Of course I see the virtual classroom growing but I also see, as the pandemic slows, that we will return to an emphasis on classes that exist IRL (n real life). People like lectures from smart profs and discussions with classmates. That’s not going away, even if digital education continues to rise.
How will intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality come into play as Meta/Facebook and other companies seek to create a second layer of digital space for interaction, aka the “metaverse.”
I for one see the widespread adoption of Oculus headsets or other virtual reality gear as being a long way off. Something akin to the slow rollout of 4k displays and content? Are people really buying and using this tech? Is Facebook’s own Metaverse project catching on or according to Futurism, having serious issues catching on?
E-learning can be interactive and video meetings can be collaborative
By the way I love e-learning and online courses, both as teacher and student. I love virtual classrooms and real classrooms – they both have their place. The challenge is to make class interesting and participatory. Students need to be in charge of their learning and be given diverse tasks. E-learning can make use of interactivity, games, student blogs and many other activities where students are actively creating, rather than passively absorbing.
Video meetings will continue to be a super important aspect of online classes. I previously wrote on the blog about how teachers will need to learn how to avoid zoom fatigue, one solution will be to stop full-time lecturing, and start doing more asynchronous activities, including video. I think Flipgrid is a fantastic solution for asynchronous video collaboration.
Facebook and Instagram Lose Users as TikTok, YouTube and Twitter Grow
Speaking of Facebook and co., I have anecdotal experience that Instagram potentially slowing and hear that creators and moving toward Twitter. In part out of dissatisfaction and partly to broaden their horizons (not put too many eggs in one basket). Though Twitter may have a tiny decrease overall in regular users year over year, my acquaintances tell me they are exploring it more.
Twitter is not very big, at least according to social media comparison charts. The social network has 400 million users and by comparison, Instagram has 1.4 billion but many people are seeing value in joining the service for the first time or increasing their participation. TikTok and YouTube are both bigger, but creating for those platforms requires some savvy with video production which is a bit of a barrier for those who would make the leap from consumer to creator.
The Personalization of Marketing and Importance of One-On-One
Does it feel like everyone is tired? We all have had a rough two years. Patience has worn thin. We’re tired of being tracked and marketed to. Companies are going to have to change from “one size fits all” to a more personalized approach. They will be able to connect with users and clients with various real-time chat apps, direct messaging, replies on social and good old-fashioned email.
The spammy throw it to the wall and see what sticks method is long past fresh (if it ever was). Getting personal with people, on a first name basis, on a face-to-face basis is going to be key. All those quick, little micro interactions with a positive comment and emoji on social media posts, and longer chats or meetings one-on-one will add up to a positive development of relations.
This year I created Tdot Studio, a membership community site and though I interact with all members via free events, I have also created inexpensive paid memberships that offer hands-on support services including meetings on Zoom and in person (when public health permits). Connecting one-on-one and in small groups is very rewarding.
All Individuals and Organizations Can Pivot and Succeed
Every year we should ask ourselves whether we need to change what we are doing. Is it time for upgrading or expanding? Is it time simply for reflection? How about a pivot to a new but related activity?
I have decided to continue teaching while developing my digital agency Tdot.com. I am working on events, content marketing, education and training, and even exploring advertising on some of my blogs.
We can aim our outreach at a generic audience, but I see more value in making one-on-one connections, and really developing relationships.
It’s really time to pivot, to try new things, to take a chance and develop some new social channels, a special website project, or find a novel way to connect with your customers and professionals in your industry.
I wish you all the best. Let’s create and make 2022 a SUPER year 👍
About the post image graphic
I am your design and education superman – I can create graphics like this for you with a) original photography and b) smart use of stock for backgrounds. Photo of me by my friend Jason McConnie / stock background image from Pixabay. Composited by me in Photoshop.