- Obamacare and midterm elections will be the never-ending stories in 2014. Healthcare.gov seems to have turned a corner from its rough start but given midterm elections, the state of Obamacare will clearly be a never-ending story. Implications: Not so much a story that clients will want to touch, but it will generate attention from reporters and bloggers.
- Deficits, spending cuts, taxes, etc.: As with healthcare, expect that editorial and op-ed pages as well as political radio and TV shows will be littered with opposing perspectives of the steps the country should take. Debate may be worthwhile but don’t expect Congress to be any less dysfunctional.
- Cybercrime and cyberwarfare: We’ve picked this as one of the most important trends of the decade so expect a lot of reporting about this throughout 2014.
- Privacy and security will continue to be issues that only experts care about. Experts will talk about the death of online privacy but actual users don’t really care. They will continue to post information about themselves because we live in a culture of documentation, in which MIT professor Sherry Turkle observes that our experiences don’t seem to matter if we don’t actually share them via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. That said, we expect continued coverage of privacy issues, especially connected to the NSA or advertisers even though strangers can access information about where they live, where and when they travel, what they buy, etc. We also expect that cyberattacks and cyber warfare will continue to generate coverage in 2014 and beyond. Implications: From a privacy perspective, we think there could be a backlash if the big data about consumers’ habits that are being shared with advertisers enables too much contact that makes advertisers appear “creepy.”
- Bitcoin and cashless payments will continue to generate interest. We’ve seen a rise in interest in bitcoins, and it appears bitcoins may be on the edge of going mainstream. We don’t think that will happen in 2014 but we do think the topic will get discussed. Meanwhile we continue to expect digital wallets or e-wallets to go mainstream in 2016. As we get closer, we expect there to be articles comparing bitcoin vs. Google Wallet vs. Isis (from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile), focusing on security and privacy issues around each standard.
- Star Wars: Currently scheduled for a 2015 release, the next Star Wars movie will be cool but, even with director JJ Abrams at the helm, it may not live up to fanboys’ overactive imaginations. Meanwhile, expect Comic-Cons 2014 and 2015 to get major coverage.
Thanks for staying with us. That’s the end of our list of predictions for 2014 — though we may add more. After all, it’s still early in the year!