Welcome to part 2 of our yearly round-up of round-ups, the TL;DR of 2016 which is still way too long.
You might have sat your desk at lunchtime last Friday, wondering to yourself ‘where’s my regular weekly content marketing, social media and tech round-up from Future Content?’ (we know you have bigger things on your mind obviously, but humour us). The hours ticked by – 1pm, 2pm, 3pm. By this point you were most likely beside yourself, panicked that something was wrong with your friendly neighbourhood Future Content correspondent (I said humour us). Then, finally, 3:30pm rolls around. A satisfying *PING* and there it is, the weekly round-up in all its glory.
I’ve been told before that people can tell the type of day I’m having by the time the weekly round-up reaches their inbox. By that (slightly unscientific but not entirely untrue) litmus test, last week was a bad one. And you’d be right. And I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Christmas (and my own inability to turn down another cocktail at a party). But mostly Christmas.
Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know, I’ve started this final missive of 2016 with plenty of time to spare, which is why you’re getting it so early, and it’s (for the most part) a planned, cohesive missive – the perfect way to end the year.
Last week we covered Jan to June. This week, we’ll be looking at July to the present day. Then we’ll say a nice Merry Christmas and we can all bugger off early for a mince pie. This time round, we’ll be adding a bonus celebrity death or two for each month, just to keep things light.
Without further ado!
Remember Andy Murray winning Wimbledon? Wales making it through to the semis of Euro 2016? And other British success stories like, erm … Brexit? The great thing is, you don’t need to remember any of it, that’s what we’re here for.
July was eventful to say the least, and no single figure embodies the state of global change in 2016 than our 22 July cover star Donald Trump. The pussy grabbing, perma-tanned cock womble blew the polls out of the water by becoming the official Republican nominee for the US presidential race in July this year.
We said at the time; “If he does become President in November, you’ll find us in a bunker 30 feet below the surface of the earth, rocking back and forth, twitching and crying.” And while we’re sure some of you might not be too disappointed by the prospect, we’re gonna stay overground, for now. Although… Merry Christmas!
The Brexit result and Trump’s victory sparked the first big mutterings around truth, and social media’s role in it. We highlighted this brilliant piece by Katherine Viner for the Guardian which set the scene for the latter half of 2016, so much so that the OED official voted ‘post-truth’ as the word of the year.
Away from politics, Snapchat had a busy month, launching a new magazine, Real Life, AND the Snapchat Memories function (remember?), author, speaker and content influencer Ann Hadley tells us why words still matter, and Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners explained the 15 B2B copywriters he doesn’t want to be.
And AI algorithms abound as IBM’s Watson developed emotion recognition technology in time for Wimbledon, MIT researchers worked out the future, the ethics of driverless cars came under scrutiny and machine learning helped marketers to predict Google rankings. It was also my mate Michael’s birthday and I forgot to send him a card. If you’re reading, Happy Birthday!
- Caroline Aherne
My birthday, and indeed the 4th birthday of Future Content. I know what you’re thinking (apart from ‘where was my invite?’) and the answer is, yes, we did play green bowls and have a barbecue in celebration. LOOK…
Aside from that rampant sports action, there was some other sporty bollocks happening across the pond and down a bit – the Olympics or something. It says here they do it every four years which is a bit lazy if you ask us. Anyone can do a bit of sports occasionally. I jest of course, and I make this joke only because I was trying to crowbar in the phrase LOLympics somewhere and this is the best I could do.
You won’t believe what we wrote about clickbait in August, the results might surprise you… A report in August showed clickbait has infiltrated the world of academia, with scientific journals with clickbait characteristics shared more widely than other papers, and Facebook declared war on this most heinous of crimes, with a new system which analyse common clickbait words and phrases. As we mentioned at the time, the headline isn’t the problem, it’s the end result.
In 2016, Facebook declared war on clickbait, fake news and, erm, the FBI. Guess they’re gonna be tooling up for 2017.
- Kenny Baker
- Gene Wilder
Interesting month this in terms of the industry round-up, we knocked a couple of in-depth specials out the park with a focus on Apple following its €13bn fine in back taxes, and another focus on content in the fashion world in light of London Fashion Week. Not wanting to sound smug or anything, but they were pretty great bits of content. So much so that we clearly ran out of steam by the end of the month; literally featuring a man shrugging as the header image on 23 Sept ‘cos I didn’t know what to write about. Great work, me.
Still, shruggy man did feature a couple of top stories below him, so it’s not all bad. How about the launch of Google Allo, the brand new messenger app which features Google Assistant – an AI helper – at its core.
We said at the time it would be hard to break into a fairly rigid messaging market – sewn up tightly by the likes of What Is App and FB Messenger- so, how has it fared? Well, it’s all relative. If you compare to the aforementioned Big 2, shite. BUT, if you consider the competition, not too bad, really. 1 million downloads in the first few days, and it recently passed the 11 million mark. It’s gonna have to do something very special if it’s to make its mark though.
Elsewhere, Twitter announced a shake up to its 140-character limit, revealing that pics and gifs wouldn’t count towards the count which has been a Godsend, and LinkedIn said they’d be making some serious changes to profile pages (although mine still looks the bloody same) and adding a handy chatbot to help you schedule meetings and all that.
And finally, Apple surprised the world with the launch of their much vaunted/mocked Airpods – the pointlessly wire-free headphones – and the iPhone 7.
- Prince Buster
- Arnold Palmer
We continued our in-depth special series (is something a series if it’s ad-hoc?) in October with a thorough examination of the changing face of Buzzfeed. I would link to the piece but it turns out it was a newsletter exclusive, not published on our site. However, believe you me, it was searingly insightful. FACT.
Talking of facts, the internet’s war on bullcrap continued apace this month with Google’s announcement that their news articles would feature a fact checking functionality to help readers get to the bottom of the biggest stories and find out more. Trouble is, as the election of Trump proved, no-one really cares anymore.
In other Googly news, following the release of Allo in September, Google announced the Pixel, their first ever smartphone, with AI at its core and plenty of issues around data protection. But hey, they gave us the Google Daydream too. Don’t think about data, look at the shiny shiny, succumb to your all-powerful overlords. I want a Pixel.
The homogenisation of social media platforms has been a theme of this year as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram all steadily added ‘new’ features, not even subtly pinched from the other. We had Snapchat Memories leading to Instagram Stories leading to Twitter Stories, finally leading to Messenger Stories released this month.
Messenger apps like Whatsapp and Messenger look set to be big news in 2017, as they become self-contained platforms in their own right, hosting apps, games, shopping, payments and more. You heard it here first (well, not first, but you did just hear it here.)
- Pete Burns
Hey, remember when reality TV star and shit businessman Donald Trump became president? That’s what the remaining 25 humans on earth will be saying to each other in five years time, huddled around a fire in an oil drum, rubbing dust from their eyes, surrounded by the steaming rubble and burnt out shells of the few buildings still remaining after the nuclear winter of discontent. The sun strains to peer through the blackened skies. A crow with three heads squawks.
Since the shock election win in November, before he’s even stepped into Obama’s shoes, he’s managed to piss off China, knocked millions off the share prices of some of the USA’s biggest companies and, well, the whole nuclear armament thing.
Anyway, we dedicated a whole issue of our round-up to Trump, trying to pick apart exactly how he got to power, and what marketers can learn from him with the caveat: “The flipside of this, of course, is that he’s a thin-skinned, misogynistic twunt with a face like a melting Orangutan and worrying penchant for arseholery. So perhaps ignore all this and get back to building that bunker.”
Closer to home, it was social media week in Bristol, five days chocked full of insight from some great speakers across the board. We won’t go into too much detail here because we already did. Look.
- Leonard Cohen
Hey, that’s now. Those with short term memory loss may like to be reminded of part one of this round-up to end all round-ups which we sent last week. Or perhaps the advent calendar of content we sent at the very start of the month.
The month actually started with and ended up with me typing these very words. Meta.
Who done died?
- Andrew Sachs
- Zsa Zsa Gabor
- James Corden (soon James, soon)
So there we have it, a truly terrible year. Thanks. Sure, you may have had your own special individual life moments – weddings, children, successes and the like – but they were all frankly meaningless in the face of such magnificent global fuck wankery. Still, at least we can always console ourselves with the fact that 2017 can’t possibly be any worse. Sorry…what’s that?
If you thought 2016 was bad – I’m releasing an album in 2017.
— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) December 13, 2016
Oh, for fu…
Hey, cynical grumblings aside, you have yourself a very Merry Christmas and one of those Happy New Year things to boot.
See you in 2017.