Communications 2006 vs. 2016

December 23, 2016
December 23, 2016 Stephen Davies

There’s a meme currently running on Twitter with the hashtag #2006vs2016 where people are tweeting a photo of their 2006 self alongside what they look like today.

The basic premise is to illustrate how much people change physically in a decade. Spoiler alert: some people age more than others.

People love a meme, a selfie and a transformation so it’s little surprise that this one, which combines all three, is going viral.

It then got me thinking, what does the communications landscape look like today in comparison to 2006? Very different actually.

While the principles of good communication and reputation management have remained the same the way in which they are achieved have not.

Though I acknowledge that even these fundamentals may change in this new ‘post-truth’ era we find ourselves in.

To make the point, let’s go back to 2006.

2006 vs. 2016: technology

Here is a sample of tech you likely use today that weren’t around ten years ago.

Smartphones, tablets, smartphone/tablet apps, 4G, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Pericope, Messenger, Uber, iPlayer, Slack, Amazon Kindle, DropBox, Google Chrome, Radian6, Sysomos, Radarly, Hootsuite and Buffer.

In the last ten years we’ve gone through the introduction of the smartphone, a revolution in its own right. We’ve also seen social media give billions of people a voice and a way of connecting around the world.

In 2006 both Facebook and Twitter were around though nothing like how they are today.

Facebook was restricted it to university students and lacked all of the main features it has today. Twitter launched in March 2006 as a text messaging based platform and for the first 12 months barely anyone used it.

Accessing podcasts on your iPod (remember them?) was only made official by Apple the year before and YouTube was a year old site full of grainy cat videos. Google Docs was a year old and terrible.

2006 vs. 2016: communications roles

These new technologies have of course changed the way we live and consume information. They have also created new kinds of roles and service offerings.

In 2006 there was no such things as:

  • Digital PR
  • Social data analyst
  • Community manager
  • Influencer relations specialist
  • Growth hacker
  • Content marketer
  • App developer

These are specialist areas of course. Every role within communications now has, at the very least, a digital element to it.

2006 vs. 2016: influencers

In 2016 the media and influencer landscape is far more fragmented than in 2006. Barring a few well-known bloggers, in 2006 the vast majority of influence still largely fell at the gates of the media.

Today that has changed completely. Regular people with an expertise and a passion have grown there own audiences by using their own platforms and harnessing the viral effect of the web.

Bloggers, YouTubers, Snapchatters, Instagrammers have diversified the influencer spectrum.

#2016vs2026 communications

I’m wouldn’t attempt to predict what the next ten years in communications will look like. Much like no one could predict the last ten.

There’s no doubt that the year 2026 will be an interesting time advancing even faster than it is now. Emerging technologies that are creeping up on us now, including VR, AR and AI, will allow us to do things we never thought possible.

I do expect more of the same however. Social will continue to grow and become more technologically innovative. New roles and specialisms will be created due to the increasing complexity of the industry. The influencer landscape will be vast and complex.

And I, like you, will be ten years older and hopefully ten years wiser.

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