Twitter could actually pull itself together
Twitter has an unfortunate reputation as the social media punching bag. It has failed to deliver the huge returns from bigger rivals like Facebook and Instagram, it hasn’t been the cool new network in more than a decade, and even its own most dedicated users love to be forgotten.
Investors were similarly suspicious of the $ 300 million social network – it lagged its competitors in terms of features, revenue per user, and monetization tools. Lots of people rely on Twitter to get at least some of their income, but tend to monetize it off the network without Twitter cutting it down.
That could start to change. Twitter is testing a “super-follow” function to support users on the page they particularly like, has bought the Revue newsletter platform and integrated it into Twitter, and has also bought some other monetization tools. With the departure of its part-time boss and co-founder Jack Dorsey, Twitter could be worth a second look in 2022.
NFTs will be forgotten, some people will lose their shirts
If you’ve managed to avoid any mention of NFTs – short for non-fungible tokens – online in 2021, you’ll be spending your time in far less nerdy corners of the internet than we do. Not fungible essentially means that one token is not the same as the next. In the case of a cryptocurrency, a Bitcoin is no different from another Bitcoin. With an NFT, each token is unique.
This means that NFTs have become popular as a means of maintaining blockchain “ownership” of a particular digital work of art or memorabilia. This included clips from NBA scoring shots, gorilla avatars, and generative art.
Proponents say that the ability to own digital art enables people to continually get creative out of the NFT they own, perhaps use it as art for their company logo, add it to existing intellectual property, or even one Create Gorillaz style NFT avatar tape.
Skeptics state here that all of this was and is possible without any use of NFTs: after all, it is what intellectual property rights already make possible. In practice, owning an NFT only proves that you own the NFT – an entry on a blockchain that says you “own” whatever links it. This may or may not be legally true, depending on how conscientious the seller was.
If people buy NFTs and drive the price up because they really appreciate the artwork on offer, the gold rush could prove sustainable. If people buy them just because they think someone else is buying them for more, a lot of people are going to lose a lot. A special feature that buyers and sellers alike should pay attention to is the platform fees. These can be hundreds of dollars – remember that the house always wins.
Uber, Deliveroo, and the gig economy will struggle to make money
The delivery economy – and the transportation economy – is bigger than ever, with home delivery of restaurant food and groceries still at its peak during the pandemic and the demand for Uber-style transportation before the pandemic Levels have risen by 20 to 40%.
The problem is, it doesn’t seem to be any more profitable for the providers of the service than it did before. Uber has raised its prices in London by 10% but is still struggling to recruit drivers and the UK lacks what it takes to meet demand by 20,000 drivers. Besides this, even though it has a tiny “adjusted” paper profit, it still burns hundreds of millions in cash.
The companies are also having a new competition for workers in the form of a deluge of 10-minute grocery delivery startups including Getir, Weezy, and a few more. Each of them offer huge discounts and cheap shipping to attract more customers than their competitors, and are therefore set to burn cash at an alarming rate. Expect several of these to fail or merge before 2022 comes out.
Jack Dorsey will start a blockchain company. Peter Thiel could invest
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been quite obviously bored with his creation for some time, not least because his other company – payment service provider Square – has a much higher rating.
If the subtle references to Dorsey’s infrequent tweets, most of which are pro-blockchain hype, and the fact that he owns a payments company weren’t enough, Dorsey renamed the company Block in the final weeks of 2021.
So expect Jack Dorsey to start a new blockchain-related subsidiary fairly early in 2022, and don’t be surprised if the Silicon Valley enfant terrible invests Peter Thiel – Thiel co-founded PayPal with the aim of making the fiat currency and to break government control over money. Therefore, it cannot escape the attraction of the blockchain when it reaches maturity.
DAOs will be the new spas
Around this time last year, Spacs – short for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies – was on everyone’s lips. Spacs were a ploy to get your company public without the lengthy, costly, and risky process of an initial public offering (IPO).
A company would be started, money raised and then looked for a startup to merge with, skipping many regulatory steps. People feared that doing so would undermine the safeguards protecting regular investors. From now on, however, Spacs feel they have had their moment.
While several startups, including BuzzFeed, went public through Spac in 2021, most of them lagged the market and many lost money instantly, which means startups are back to watching IPOs.
The hot abbreviation when we enter 2022 is DAO – short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. DAOs, generally using their own cryptocurrency to create a democracy with one coin and one vote, raise money and try to use it for an agreed purpose. One recently attempted to purchase a copy of the U.S. Constitution but failed, leading to a huge dispute over refunds when that failed.
Proponents see DAOs as the tip of a new, democratized Internet. Skeptics see waste of time and labor, just an illusion of decentralization and great risks for naive investors who are unsure of the risks involved or the high transaction fees involved. It is possible that both groups are right.
People will try to make VR possible again
Once someone in technology uses the phrases “immersive” or “live your life online” chances are they will almost inevitably be followed by someone trying to get you to wear a headset – and there is no reason Trying to believe Facebook, forward to the metaverse that their Oculus headsets are wearing, will be different.
Users have generally avoided virtual reality. Heavy headsets, motion sickness, the poor content, and the absolute nerdity of VR put almost everyone off. But with the Metaverse an immersive internet that we are assured will work properly this time around as it is the new fixation of big tech, expect new VR hype very soon.
Indie games will continue to experience a renaissance
This year was another stellar year for indie gaming, with a notable indie flop Nobody’s heaven, which attracted widespread criticism at the start and is now being celebrated after the fall of the Wall. Find-and-kill-your-friends indie Between us became a huge lockdown hit while Garden history, sable, Valheim and more broke through. Expect a similar amount of strong names when the sector hits its renaissance in 2022.
The podcast bubble won’t burst
You can safely access your podcast app again. All of those homemade lockdown podcasts started by every friend are rightly withered and the state of the podcast output is better than ever.
Big professional broadcasters and production houses do high-budget series, there’s still a bustling indie scene, and podcasting has found a voice beyond “two men in one shed”. The output is more diverse in terms of content and who is behind the microphone than with old media, and monetization works now. Podcasts are a success story and we should win.
… but the newsletter bubble could
At first glance, newsletters are celebrating a similar triumph, but here are clouds on the horizon. Most of the substances at the top of the table are unsuccessful because they counter the culture wars, they are successful because they fuel them. Substack hasn’t proven to be an escape from Twitter for writers, it has become an incentive to have Twitter beef and generate more subscriptions.
A bigger problem is the price. If you subscribe to a newsletter, £ 4.99 a month or so seems reasonable. With four or five you pay three or four times more for newsletters than for them New York Times. People are cutting their subscriptions and wondering aloud whether, for example, there could be a combined subscription for numerous letters at a lower price. Maybe we could call it … a magazine?
Ports are the new ports
After all, in the biggest turnaround since what Boris Johnson turned around last week, Apple did something it hasn’t done in decades: it re-added ports to its new MacBook Pro. Now that they have been completely shortened to two USB-C ports and a headphone jack, the new professionals have an HDMI port and even an SD card reader. We are really back to the future.