FROM DIGITRUTH TO IDENTITY TERRORISM
Faith Popcorn’s Predictions for 2004
, January 2004) Faith New York, NY ’s leading futurist, anticipates 2004 to be a year in which technology—already a deeply embedded part of our lives—finds new expression. The country will adopt a new technological wardrobe, enabling moms (Big Mother) to satisfy their need to protect their children and families. And all of us will begin to express our feelings with new and powerful simultaneity, something Faith calls the “Idoling of America.” Popcorn, America
At the same time, 2004 will witness the collision of our deepest anxieties about technology. “Persona Propaganda,” a new kind of DigiTruth, will find us attempting to manipulate the way we present ourselves to the online universe. As the media continue to push the limits of what’s acceptable and technology facilitates our immediate gratification, porn will become the norm.
Taken together with other emerging forces, including the mainstreaming of fundamentalism, 2004 will be a year in which the uber-Trend of FutureTENSE will dominate our thinking. FutureTENSE involves everything from “Identity Terrorism” on the one hand, to generalized anxiety over political, ethical and economic disruptions on the other. Other Trends such as EGOnomics (a de-personalized society drives our desire to be recognized for our individuality) and Anchoring (taking what was secure from the past to prepare us for the future) will also play an increasingly dramatic role in shifting the direction of the culture.
Big Mother – Forget Big Brother, technology creates a new generation of super-observant moms. Consider her tools: classroom cams, RFID tags in backpacks, GPS chips in watches…or even embedded in kids’ bodies. When children are never out of sight, a whole new mother-child emotional dynamic will result. A part of that: kids strike back. Call it the “Mom Unplugged” syndrome.
Persona Propaganda – Google has created the concept of the “Public Resume” – a new kind of pervasive, email-able DigiTruth. Now that everybody can know everything about almost anyone, an industry will soon evolve to help you manage that public persona—creating the perfect online profile, optimizing your own Google search, giving us control over our digitized public identities.
Identity Terrorism – The most extreme form of “Persona Propaganda,” in which the Internet is used as a tool to malign a reputation, either of an individual or a corporation. This new kind of terrorism is bound to be an increasing problem in the years to come.
Profiling Paranoia – As our personal choices become part of the digital ether (iPod playlists, TiVo configurations, Amazon purchases) we will become increasingly worried about how this data can be used. The upside: EGOnomical technology could match us to exciting content, information, even people. The downside: a new digital Gestapo could dictate all the content you see.
Porn as the Norm – In a culture where, increasingly, anything is acceptable, pornography has become the sole source of titillation. Expect to see it emerge in more platforms, including on our cell phones. Wireless porn is projected to be one of the biggest mobile data applications.
The Idoling of
– Pop-democratization, spearheaded by Zagat and made most visible with the vote-by-text-message phenomenon of American Idol, will soon spread throughout the culture to an unprecedented level. We foresee even personal decisions (Should I have another child? Should I marry this woman or not?) being put to vote by millions of Americans. America
Mystic Messages – Fundamentalism is booming. 49% of Americans call themselves “Born Again.” The “Left Behind” series regularly tops the best-seller lists. And young people are very much a part of this explosion. We predict that major marketers will finally recognize this religious resurgence and will develop products and services targeting this market. Jesus Barbie? Coca-Cola with religious messages on their cans?
About Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve – Globally recognized consumer Trend expert and marketing futurist Faith Popcorn founded her consulting company, Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve, in 1974. The
firm guides companies in understanding and anticipating consumer behavior and leveraging established brands, new products and services to meet the needs of future customers. Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve has created strategic Trend-based solutions and provided FutureScapes for many Fortune 500 clients, including: New York ’s, Dial, Gillette, Johnson & Johnson, MasterCard, Tylenol, Tyson, BMW, Bell Atlantic, GE Capital, IBM, MetLife, Nabisco, and Pepsi/Lipton. Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve is defined by its TrendBank, and its 17 Trends that have been identified and relentlessly monitored over the past three decades. Each day, multiple inputs arrive, and are synthesized into proprietary findings. Our sources include: thousands of interviews with consumers and experts; ongoing global media and cultural analysis; TrendTrek data; and reports from all precincts of public and private life – the literary, scientific, medical, romantic, retail. In a world where acceleration is the norm, and a sense of cultural chaos pervades, the role of the Trends in organizing and making coherent the world around us has never been more vital. Our TrendBank helps Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve to deploy a methodology that enables companies and brands to ascertain the strategic direction they must pursue, by identifying the shapes and colors of the future - its Trends, defining characteristics, and critical attributes. The company operates with a core staff of 50 Trend-obsessed visionaries, and our TalentBank, a diverse roster of 8,000 influential global experts whose ideas shape society as we continue through the new century’s first decade. Campbell