11.0 Right Back Where We Started
You’ve learned the right questions to ask. You’ve seen how examining history can show the way forward, and you understand that the art and science of forecasting can enable businesses to sharpen their focus and profit from the ever-changing cultural landscape. So what do you see looming on the horizon?
The coming youth culture threatens to become as influential as any movement in history. Social networking is a game-changing cultural event. This is the new Vietnam, separating the kids and their increasingly frustrated parents in a way that they haven’t been since the Boomers and their World War II-era parents screamed across the divide at each other in the ’60s. The trend of happy, harmonious children who have nothing to rebel against is peaking, and within the next few years the changes will have manifested in a massive generation gap. It won’t be MySpace, Friendster, or Facebook by then, of course-those first-wave sites are already on the downward curve. Next-generation social networking will be about segmentation and data portability, with your tribes determining what feeds you subscribe to. In the future, your widgets will define you.
Girls are on the rise too. They are already the dominant force in pop culture. Look at the recent and reigning teen and preteen icons: Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, the women of The Hills. Whereas in the last century each generation’s idols were men, in the future, with technology leveling the playing field, it is women who are ascendant.
Now, armed with the knowledge of how to read the future that is right in front of you, you can turn a trained eye to the forces that shape trends and determine the direction of pop culture, business, and society. So, what’s your forecast today?