100 Things to Watch in 2011

JWT released their 6th annual forecast of 100 trends, movements, and developments to anticipate in 2011 (more details here). It’s a list that ranges from the predictable (E-Book Sharing, Group-Manipulated Pricing, Mobile Blogging) to pop culture (Michael Jackson Lives On, NKOTBSB, OWN) to what Ann Mack, director of trendspotting at JWT says “counter-trends—for instance, to balance out our growing immersion in the digital world, people will increasingly embrace face-to-face gatherings and digital downtime.”

I’d like to balance this list with the caveat that there’s a PR component for JWT’s benefit, but nonetheless it’s still an interesting knowledge sharing read, particularly Mack’s point: I’ve always been fascinated by the “two steps forward, one step back” aspect of modernization. We’re in the midst of an inchoate yet massive revolution, this time a digital and wireless one. And yet, as we become more excitedly and breathlessly plugged in, there’s an opposite nostalgic yearning for the analog periods of our youth and pre-modern past (see MAKE culture, steam punk, typographic “minimalist” posters, Instagram polaroid-esque photos, rural-prep men’s fashion, etc). For a deeper understanding of how predictable this techno-cultural tug-of-war back and forth is I highly recommend reading German sociologist and author Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s easily digestible and influential books “The Railway Journey: The Industrialization and Perception of Time and Space” and “Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century.”

[Hat tip Kaizar]

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