What will not be around in five years, that was the question asked of the audience during the closing, open session at WIT Australia.
At first, there was silence. Then a voice rang out. “Facebook,” it said. “Because people will finally realise they’ve got to have a real life.”
The room erupted in laughter. Yet while the person may have said it in part-jest, I could sense it set some people thinking. Anything is possible, after all, in a world fraught with uncertainty and such rapid change.
Look what’s happened to Nokia, the poster mobile phone brand just a few years ago, or RIM, the folks behind Blackberry who are now having to cut jobs? Indeed, someone asked, can Indonesia save RIM?
Someone agreed that there could be a backlash against Facebook’s current wild popularity, with privacy issues cited as a main concern. He said, about 90% of photos being posted on Facebook are of babies and children who did not consent to their parents doing so. “What will happen when that generation grows up?”
There's also a feeling that Facebook is getting into everything – travel and now, rumours it may be getting into music as well.
The culture of instant expression and hunger to share has certainly backfired on some people notably the American politician, Anthony Weiner, whose career has been ruined by his public tweets about his private parts.
As the discussion continued, more names came up.
Tiger Airways, someone ventured. “Has anyone flown them lately?” he asked. Hmm, interesting one – and it will especially interesting to see what happens after Singapore Airlines launches its low cost, long haul carrier.
Someone said hotel star ratings would disappear - too arbitrary and too inconsistent.
Another said that 85% of group deals sites would disappear. “There will be a massacre and we won’t have to wait five years,” said Timothy Hughes, CEO of Getaway Lounge.
He’s right. Five years is a long, long time in the digital world.
What was interesting to see though in the session “Find Your Online Groove”, in which Hughes and Ian Cumming of GetFlight, went through a list of recent start-ups in Australia was how good old-fashioned things were being embraced in the new world.
The two of them went through four categories – search, retail and marketing, engagement and travel planning. (Download their presentation here)
Particularly interesting to me were scribblepics.com which allows travellers to personalise and send postcards – which may well bring back the art of writing postcards from the edge – and footprintsnetwork.org which allows travellers to do good for local communities they visit.
Staying in touch and doing good – now I hope those two things never disappear from our world.
So what else do you think will not be around in five years?