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Imperfect Prognostications

By Gerald McGrew on January 17, 2014 in Other

Picture: Reuters/Brian Snyder

Picture: Reuters/Brian Snyder

After a hectic 2013, it’s time to review my predictions from last year. Was I right, wrong, or just a massive douche?

First, I thought that Facebook wouldn’t make serious coin from mobile advertising. I couldn’t have been more wrong on that one. When they had their IPO over 18 months ago not one cent of their revenue was from mobile ads. Now mobile and tablet ad revenue represents 49% of the US$1.8 billion they generated from July to September this year. Master Zuckerberg has kept his job as a direct result of you accidentally clicking on those annoying ads in your Facebook mobile app. Well played Zuck!

I had more luck predicting that Channel Ten would barely survive the year and Nine would finish bigger and badder than ever. Poor old Ten really did have a shocker in 2013. Crap programming, a digital strategy that wouldn’t have looked out of place in 2003, and breakfast television that was so depressing its star producer had to take a break. With depression.

I said that most people would stop caring whether Samsung are better than Apple and I was probably only half right. Samsung people, and perhaps the rest of the world, don’t really care now. In the main they appear happy with their choice of mobile technology, and leave it at that. On the other hand, Apple diehards are still evangelising about the latest ‘iThing’. Is it the 5S or the 5? The new iPad, the iPad 4, or the iPad Air? I really can’t keep up. They’ve looked the same for years. At least everyone agrees that iOS7 is shit.

I was sure that Apple would lose some of its mojo and I was bang on with that one. Whether it was because of the unfortunate departure of Jobs, or the fact that they haven’t had a game-changing idea for ages, Apple simply isn’t the undisputed king of cool any more. As much as this irks the more rabid of the Apple fan boys and girls out there, a little bit of competition will ultimately prove good for Apple. And with a rumoured US$150 billion of cash in the bank, they can afford a few swings and misses.

Last year I wrapped up by noting that being online in 2013 will guarantee far less privacy and extra intrusive advertising. I think this prediction deserves a pat on the back. A certain Mr Snowden has so far released only 500 of an estimated 50,000 to 200,000 documents he allegedly has in his possession. The impact on our understanding of personal privacy has already been profound. It turns out we haven’t had it for years.

The average person also realised in 2013 that all those smartphone and tablet apps, social networks and websites that we give personal information to have been flogging our data remorselessly to advertisers. Then they show us the same ads no matter where we go on the Internet, which is every bit as stupid as it sounds. I’ve already bought the extra large condoms, so leave me alone! Advertisers are spending millions working out what we like, when we like it, and perhaps even why. And they know where we are thanks to smartphone and tablet GPS units in billions of pockets around the world.

That’s it. Turns out I was equal parts correct, incorrect and douche. Once again, art imitates life!