Picked up a post on Mashable that nicely captures choices for the key web trends for the past year. The only big one I would add – though it might seem like stating the obvious – is the increasingly dominant role of Google as an economic, cultural and technological force on the Web. For better or worse, what they decide to do (or buy) has major ripple effects on the vast internet ecosystem. Though some fear this power, I’ve yet to see any negative impact of Google’s domination in my daily interactions on the Web – quite the opposite, in fact – so I’m withholding my judgement.
Looking beyond the core Web trends into related developments in PR, I guess the most prominent trend is simply that companies are slowly, sometimes reluctantly, adopting some of the tools and ethos of social media in their communication activities: corporate blogs, internal wikis, RSS-enabled intranet portals, islands on Second Life, crowd-sourcing sites, social press releases, Twitter networks…and so on. There’s also been a steady increase of activities that could be considered marketing – or sorry…relationship building as the CMOs would define it.
I see most if not all of these trends are positive developments. The twin disciplines of PR and marketing (as well as advertising to a lesser extent) have already greatly benefited, I would suggest, from being blown inside-out with the liberating gusts of Web 2.0 ideas and tools. PR, in particular, was (is?) in need of a major overhaul; name another profession with such a dubious reputation, stifling inertia, propensity to flirt with the dark side of ethics and insular thinking. Let the winds of freedom blow….