The dawn of 2014

Happy New Year

For some people (probably many people), early morning on January 1 in any year is characterized by the plink-plink-fizz sequence of two Alka-Seltzer tablets dropping into a glass of water.

A few gulps and, a bit later, relief!

These days, my experiences of New Year’s Day are a little on the milder side where Alka-Seltzer doesn’t really figure into the morning routine: more a nice cup of tea and the online newspapers.

(My favourite hangover story, incidentally, where Alka-Seltzer sets the scene is the early Mad Men-era sketch by American comedian Shelley Berman – “The Morning After The Night Before.” It’s a great listen, one of the tracks on the Inside Shelley Berman audio CD, a terrific and uniquely American comedy collection originally recorded in 1959.)

So here we are – the first day of 2014. A day to reflect on the year that just ended, perhaps, although more to look ahead and consider the year that’s just beginning.

It’s a year that will include some memorable events. The FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, for instance, in the summer. On a very sombre note, there’s the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War on July 28, 1914. It’s an event that will impact public consciousness on a large scale, in many countries, until 2018: the 100th anniversary of when that war officially ended.

In business, the landscape in 2014 looks pretty exciting in what I tend to think about and the collisions of technologies, people’s behaviours and changes, and the consequential effects of those collisions and changes, especially in organizations. Boy, does chaos theory apply here.

In the UK, a new libel law came into effect today – the Defamation Act 2013 – designed in part to move the legal system closer in alignment with digital and online technologies and how people behave online (meaning mostly what they say). Time will tell how successful this new law will be in enabling lawyers and judges to balance people’s rights to freedom of expression online with their responsibilities in exercising those rights. It won’t be an easy task at all.

Mashable posted predictions yesterday on “7 Huge Tech Trends to Expect in 2014“:

  1. Smart Home Tech Explosion
  2. Privacy Backlash
  3. Ads in Everything
  4. Cloud Wars
  5. Hello, 4K Content
  6. Drone Wars
  7. Promising Advancements in Nanotech

Such a  credible list – read the details at Mashable (including the comments: some good opinions there).

There are plenty more predictions for 2014 across the huge spectrum of business, communication and technology. I’m resisting the temptation to whip out a crystal ball; I will be contributing opinion about what to focus on in 2014 from a communicator’s perspective that will be published on a small handful of online publications during January (and which I’ll reference here and perhaps in my podcast).

FIR Podcast Network

Speaking of the podcast, 2014 also marks the start of the tenth year since my podcasting partner Shel Holtz and I started “For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report” – our first episode was published on January 3, 2005. If you’re a listener to the weekly show, you’ll know we’re building out a network (unsurprisingly, we’re calling it the FIR Podcast Network) as we head into 2014.

Exciting times!

Happy New Year.