TMCnet Feature
June 24, 2019

6 Internet Trends You Should Know About in 2019

There’s one unarguable truth about trends over the last couple of decades. There’s been a lot of them. Change has always been humanity’s capricious copilot, but with the burgeoning technological possibilities and the bubbling global soup of instant communication we all swim in, the pace of change has shifted from mildly demanding to relentless.

The Internet is no exception. Keeping track of what the Internet looked like now compared to 12 months ago is a bit like building a sand castle on a beach. At midnight, when the tide is rolling in while wearing mittens.

But what if we ignore that ever-shifting surface and dig deeper? Is there something more solid there to grab on to? Here’s our answer to that question, in the form of six “deep trends” we’re seeing in the Internet today.

1. Decentralized income is taking hold

The noble art of the Internet side hustle has been percolating and bubbling away on the Internet for at least 20 years. But it’s only comparatively recently that it’s common to find people who derive a complete, full-time income from a tasty stew of smaller morsels of side work. The difference between now and five years ago is that a critical mass of people is taking this idea seriously, of earning a wholesome crust without committing to the nine to five (lack of) lifestyle.

In 2019 and beyond, we’re going to see more resources, opinions and commentary emerge (like this popular business blog) about how making a decentralized income approach actually work. It’ll be interesting. And challenging.

2. Reciprocal reward is a big deal

You scratch my back, I scratch yours is hardly a new social phenomenon. Finding ways to formalize reciprocally benefit relationships seems to be inherent in our species. But mutually assured reciprocal success in the Internet has been something of a blunt instrument thus far.

“If you retweet my article about cycling holidays in Finland, I’ll retweet your social media ad about herbal laxatives” has, for the most part, been about the extent of reciprocal promotion online. But this is changing.

In 2019, more sophisticated and nuanced relationships will continue to form between large enterprises. As our tools for tracking engagement become more sophisticated and AI driven, increasingly complicated arrangements for pushing business toward one another will emerge. There will be winners. But there’ll also be losers.

3. Creatives are becoming managers

Outsourcing options have exploded in recent years, and it’s changing how creative are doing business. Whereas in the past a creative might think of their business as one of complete control throughout the entire creative process, in 2019 we’re likely to see creative outsourcing key parts of their work.

For example, a graphic designer may still execute the core styling work to make a product distinctively their own, but they may rely on a team of sub-designers provides much of the grunt work. The same phenomenon will likely emerge in journalism and marketing. Partly this will be to allow creatives to speed up and produce more content. But it’ll also expand their reach into new markets.

4. Managers are becoming creatives

People in management and technical positions have experienced an explosion in ways to convert their managerial vision into creative outputs. We’re likely to see this take hold in 2019, with more small business owners opting to run their own marketing or brand building campaigns using the many tools at their disposal. Some will be colossal fails. Others will offer something fresh and authentic in the marketing space. The latter will, of course, greedily be snapped up, standardized and commodified by marketing professionals. Rinse and repeat.

5. Brevity is back

For the last five years or so, we’ve seen a gradual shift in industrial and commercial design. Fanciness, feature bloat and complicated user interfaces have steadily dwindled, to the point that simple, ergonomically deliberate design is the new gold standard. The same will happen with words. Following in the wake of this push toward spartan design, marketing copy, evergreen brand content and even technical and policy documentation will become shorter, crisper and more carefully crafted in 2019 and beyond.

Brevity is back.

6. Indies and mavericks are becoming mainstreamed

Let’s end on a slightly less than upbeat note. The trajectory we’ve seen on the Internet for the past decade or so has been one of decentralization. Big business has lost ground to upstart companies. The unassailable credibility of major publishing houses has crumbled as an army of quality content creators decided to go it alone. Even the big banks and finance institutions have experienced an erosion of relevance as crypto and viable alternative forms of raising working capital have captured our imaginations.

There’s a paradoxical problem here, though. Decentralization has been successful. Successful strategies are eagerly analyzed, theorized and plagiarized. And with that shift from the periphery to the center, the indies and mavericks who pioneered these new ways of doing things are slowly becoming mainstream.

In 2019, indie authors will continue to find more incentive to participate in big self publishing programs like Kindle Direct Publishing, the Diet Coke of indie content management. It’ll be great for some. Less great for others.

Freelancers will suffer the same fate. Having firmly established the viability of their “freedom or nothing” lifestyle, business minded folks will continue to jump on board and look for ways to “corporatize” the sector.

Freelancer agencies in 2019, will continue to bring a much needed consistency to the gun for hire sector, and many will win big time. But those winners are unlikely to be the same breed of freelancer that brought us this far. Freelancing will be that little bit more like a product you can buy into — like a six month subscription to Wine of the Month Club — and for better or worse (mainly worse IMHO), that will change things.

The countless virtual cogs and gears that run the Internet in 2019 aren’t all good and aren’t all bad. We’re staring into a vast and ever-shifting mixed bag of possibilities. And just like it’s always been, the challenge in 2019 will be to understand what we’re looking at and to find new ways to make the most of it.

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