2016 is hereI am usually one of those people who are strangely unmoved by the arrival of a new calendar year. I say ‘strangely’ simply because I know that other people get very excited about it. However, it’d be a pretty boring existence if we all thought the same!

Keener readers will also see that I said ‘usually’ – this year, I am feeling a frisson of excitement! The reason is that I think there is a lot of new and exciting stuff on the horizon and maybe, just maybe, this is the year that some of it will appear. So, here’s why 2016 is going to be a great, fun, rollercoaster ride of incredible!

1 – Tech

OK, so tech is always exciting and there is ‘always’ something new around the corner. However, having said that, I think that, last year in particular, we were served up a plateful of ‘meh’. There was no ‘iPhone’ moment for instance – and by that I mean when the first one came out and we all turned into Minions going ‘Ooooooooh! Shiney!’ Last year was so full of ‘meh’ that even the Apple announcements couldn’t get me excited and all I saw was tweaks and speed bumps. The Apple Watch just does nothing for me at all – I have a real watch, a lovely Festina one, that I sometimes wear when I get the urge – and I always have my phone on me. I just don’t see what the Apple Watch adds to my existence and, worse than that, I do see a lot of people saying that they like it but wouldn’t buy another. You didn’t hear that about the iPhone.

So, I think there is something waiting in the wings. A real breakout product. Something that wasn’t quite ready last year but will be this year. And it might even just be a component that makes a huge difference – which is me holding out for a mobile battery that lasts a week of heavy use between charges – I can dream!

My betting is that there will be something big – actually significantly big – at Mobile World Congress in February. I wish I could say that I thought that Apple was going to pull something out of the bag in September but, based on the last announcements, I’m not getting my hopes up.

In terms of gaming, I think that the Nintendo NX is going to hit the ground before E3 in June. The NX will be good – simply because it has to be. Nintendo innovated with the Wii but seriously dropped the ball with the WiiU – the NX just has to deliver and, if anyone can do that, Nintendo can.

2 – Social

2015 saw increasing homogeneity and also increasing numbers of people walking away. Social networks copying other networks’ features is not innovation and it is not exciting. I am not sure that I can see that changing any time soon but I do see some great, innovative uses of social media – and that does excite me. I loved the way Libération used WhatsApp for the French regional elections in 2015 and their ‘outside the box’ thinking is the start of something that can redefine how we view social media. Remember folks, it’s just a set of platforms. What will make social media grow isn’t the features per se, it’s the way they are used.

Where there will be increased traction is in the intersection between social media and real life – services and platforms that encourage physical interactions IRL. I don’t want to use the word Uberisation – but Uberisation! That’s where the new players will be found. I’m tempted to say that I reckon it’ll be a hard year for Uber too. Not only are the authorities all over their case but, crucially, their model is eminently replicable and any business people worth their salt should be able to do just that and learn from the mistakes that Uber has already made to create a much better, more loved service.

I also live in eternal hope that we will also see an improvement in online content quality and community management from businesses. It is a hard slog but it does feel as if some are, at last, grasping the nettle and moving content creation to content creators while understanding the need to integrate digital more coherently into their business.

3 – Politics

For politics obsessives like myself, we are spoilt for choice this year. We have an Icelandic Presidential Election, legislative elections in Russia, the New Zealand Flag Referendum and the Mongolian general election to name but a few. And then there’s the big one that everyone is keeping their eye on – the election for a replacement *at last* of Sepp Blatter at FIFA.

Oh, and I think I heard that there’s an election in America too…!

Too much excitement and opportunity for social media shenanigans!

4 – The Rio Olympics

That’ll be big. Running and jumping and that. Excellent!

5 – Personally…

I’m lucky enough to have a great 2016 lined up with lots of exciting things to look forward to. In the immediate future, that includes on 25 January, my second appearance on Community Manager Appreciation Day’s annual 24 hour hangout – I’ll be discussing Facebook Fatigue along with Yann Gourvennec and others (tba) – and I will also give my first series of lectures on digital marketing and social media to the Grenoble École de Management in Paris (you can see what the students themselves are up to on their blog – Digital Me Up)… and that’s just the first few months!

Where do you see 2016 heading? Wherever it is, I hope you have a great one!

Written by James