While the ‘now’ has never been more popular, with many consumers still keen on instant gratification, trying to maximize the amount of experiences they can collect in as little time as possible (and with as little budget as possible), there are equally strong forces promoting the ‘forever’:

FOREVERISM | Encompasses the many ways that consumers and businesses are embracing conversations, relationships, and products that are never done. Driving its popularity is technology that allows them to find, follow, interact and collaborate forever with anyone & anything.

As FOREVERISM leans heavily on various societal and technological developments, the topic may lend itself more to a hefty tome than to a monthly trend briefing. Blissfully, we can hide behind our focus on consumer trends and skip some of the heavy lifting.

So let’s start with how countless individuals are building online profiles and relationships that are potentially ‘forever’, and how that is already impacting their interaction with brands in a variety of new ways.

While the notion of consumers establishing and (passionately) tending to their online presences is no longer a source of wonder, the sheer scale and scope of the phenomenon is still astounding. Hundreds of millions of personal pages, feeds, status updates, tweets, profiles, blogs—courtesy of the Facebooks, the mySpaces, the Twitters, the LinkedIns—are building up to an eternally up-to-date encyclopedia of individuals that defies even the most futuristic predictions back in the early days of the web.

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These profiles (and billions of other digital crumbs scattered across cyberspace), will live on forever. Not just because the web is a massive caching machine, but more importantly, because younger generations will never want to dispose of their groomed online presence to begin with. Some (obligatory) figures:

  • Facebook reached 200 million active users on 8 April 2009. More than 100 million users log on to Facebook every day, while more than 20 million users update their status at least once each day.
  • MySpace now boasts 130 million members, LinkedIn counts over 40 million members, and Twitter over 30 million members (late May 2009). Oh, and China’s Twitter, TaoTao, now has nearly 50 million users.
  • Overall, the share of adult US internet users who have a profile on a social networking site has more than quadrupled in the past four years—from 8% in 2005 to 35% now. For adults aged 18-24, it’s 75%, and for tweens, it’s close to 100%. (Source: Pew Internet, January 2009.)

We could go on and on, but it all boils down to future ubiquity for personal online profiles, representing every individual who is online, which in mature consumer societies will mean 99% of the population.

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