The world indeed looks very different as we start into the New Year. The rise of the conservative narrative across the world culminating in the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of United States ushers in very interesting times. 2017 might also be seen as the 'Big Crunch' of globalization. For PD enthusiasts, I have identified the following trends to watch out for:
1. Rise of RHETORIC:This year will be a year of competing narratives. Rhetoric will take centre stage as debates in the international stage would be fueled by nationalism than anything else. The focus of PD would be to secure validity for a certain school of thought more than "attracting" audiences.
2. POWER will take centre stage: This year might be turn out to be the best year for the PD profession. Instead of being seen as a 'good to have' function within foreign offices, PD might emerge as a major player in enhancing 'power'. As states vie for legitimacy and influence in a world that would be fragmented, instruments of PD and tools would be used in a more strategic manner instead of doing it adhoc. Among other things, it might mean more budgets. This will be an interesting puzzle for PD theorists to examine and how it would influence the evolution of the discipline.
3. PAID MEDIA will be the new normal: States will find ways to increasingly use paid media to create influence. There might be some ethical considerations in here, but what I am trying to say is instead of relying on 'earned' or 'owned' media, PD Divisions will be more proactive and rely increasingly on paid content. The 'post truth' era demonstrated to all of us the power of 'fake news'. More advanced media societies are more vulnerable to such influence and the reliance on paid media by the minor powers might be an increasing trend.
4. RISE OF THE OTHERS: The others, I mean the 'Non State Entities' would emerge as a significant instrument of PD policy. In some cases, they might want to create narratives and engage audiences on their own that would help their cause and may compete with state narratives.
5. Change in TONALITY: The 'feel good' will give way to the 'feel strong'. We will see a marked difference in the tonality of communication. 'Impress' will give way to 'Influence' and 'logic' will trump (pun intended) 'sentiment'. 2017 might be a year of great debates!
This year is going to be interesting. Trust me on that one!