Trends to Watch in 2008: Facebook Suicide to Mobulimia

What trends should be watched in the coming year?

Advertising agency JWT today released its list of 80 things to watch in 2008. Among those that could affect digital advertising and marketing professionals in the year ahead: Facebook suicide (the decision to drop out of a social network) and e-clutter and e-clutter consultants.

Trends involving mobile devices got four mentions on the list, including: mobulimia (addiction to mobile devices), the mobile technology explosion, and the “third screen (as in mobile) rivaling the first screen (as in TV).

While Apple’s iPhone made the list in 2007, JWT figures the Gphone will be the mobile technology development to watch in the coming year.

On the social network front, JWT points to social network branded communities established by marketers. “You’ll see brands trying to appeal to their target consumers by starting these groups. For instance, a sleep drug brand starting an anti-insomniac community. What’s in it for the members? They can talk about their commonalities and offer each other advice and get answers to their questions from trusted brands,” explains Ann Mack, JWT director of trendspotting, in an e-mail interview with ClickZ.

While green weddings may bring gold, blue could become the new green in the environmental movement’s color scheme. Look out, too, for the possibility of “eco-fatigue” setting in.

How does JWT identifies these trends?

“In our daily work, we’re constantly mining and analyzing information out in the public domain and talking to influencers, experts and consumers. That’s where the list begins,” says JWT’s Mack. From there, her team asks a worldwide network of 100 people to react to the preliminary list, and then a small New York-based group hammers out the rest.

Perhaps 2008 will usher in a kinder, gentler world online. E-mail etiquette and virtual gifting are among the top trends to watch.

Ann and JWT, Thank you.

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