2007, the year of convergence
Blurring the digital lifestyle
The gap between offline and online has narrowed in 2007, blurring the difference between consumers and users. The so called web 2.0 has reached mainstream, with regular users adopting Rich Internet Applications like online word processors or flocking to virtual worlds. The convergent consumer created a online hub for work and entertainment that nurtured the growth of technologies that enabled the creation and distribuition of immersive experiences.
The digital lifestyle was also adopted by other platforms, with the iPhone becoming one of the main icons of convergence in 2007, a landmark in technology and a mobile device sales champion. Also in mobile, Google took a major step away from the desktop, with the Android platform, converging the interest of companies, developers and consumers. Other technologies, such as multi-touch devices, with research from PerceptivePixel for Microsoft Surface or the hack on the Wii remote, envisioned the need to integrate offline experiences with online.
Will it blend?
Even one of the most famous online videos of 2007 had convergence in mind, reminding us that the power of word-of-mouth is still the most effective forms of marketing and that advertising should be seen as a conversation igniter about products and services, and not a trespasser on consumers’ lives.
More consumer power
As consumers felt empowered, the need for defining their digital self grew stronger, with a louder online voice. Consumers are now brand ambassadors or become part of online communities, with social networks creating major buzz in 2007, Facebook beeing the rising star.
With great power comes great responsibility, and new concerns arose regarding digital privacy, an important on the main online advertising deal of the year: Google buying DoubleClick.
Other online advertising moves were made by companies like Hitwise, aQuantitative, Nielsen or Compete, with innovations on services and metrics provided, questioning even more the obsolete model of traditional media. Google, despite too many product launches (Street View, Knols), etc, etc) has strengthened their lead on search advertising, and also bought RSS advertising network Feedburner. But there’s life beyond Mountain View, with Yahoo, Live.com and Ask.com showing that they’re still around, with some refreshing competition from niche search by Wikia, Spock or Mahalo).
A small, small world
Media convergence creates an apparently smaller world, that set stage to new forms of publishing like microblogging (Twitter) or tumblelogs (Tumblr), and promote a more imediate and objective communication. With the dividing line between online and offline-online blurring, more creative campaigns are set to connect these two realities: the promos for The Simpsons movie or the Year Zero ARG campaign for Nine Inch Nails were amongst the most memorable marketing moments of 2007.
Something to remember
Finally, in Portugal, a promising year in tech and new media events, with e-Mkt 2007, TakeOff and Barcamp in Coimbra, and a big November with Sapo Codebits plus the news of OFFF 2008 in Lisbon. In blogs, the launch of blog networks TubarÃ£o Esquilo and Prt.sc were a sign that Portuguese online media is shaping up, perhaps encouraged with the growing interest of brands on social media, as for instance with the Rexona blog. In fact, Rexona has also one of my favorite international campaigns at “Quien es Fermin”, joining “Good Things Should Never End” and “Get The Glass” at my top online marketing campaigns of 2007.
No 2008 predictions, please
I won’t do the usual 2008 predictions, despite my pretty good hints last year. Instead, I’ll ask you to reflect on this: more than blogeratti or geeks, it’s regular consumers that will set the trends, and they will keep visiting MySpace, wondering around on souvenir shops and eating Oreo pizzas. No matter how strange and un-convergent that seems to “us”.
This article will soon be available in Portuguese, at blog network Prt.sc