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Saturday 31 December 2011

Looking Forward.

Yesterday i wrote a post all about looking back over the past year. It's something that is done increasingly often these days.

But, another thing that happens around this time is that people also start to look forward to, or at least, towards the coming New Year. Once again, the media are the main culprits and the newspapers, tv and radio are full of "expert" opinion on what is going to happen next year.

Like me, i'm sure you've seen, heard, or read at least some of these pieces over the past few days.

But, one aspect that is often overlooked about those predictions that were made the previous year is,
Did they come true?
Were they correct?
Were they in fact wildly inaccurate?

Now, don't forget that some of these predictions concern monetary matters and even recommendations as to where to spend, or invest your money! Of course, they all come with a small print warning, as they should.
But, my point is that these predictions, from these so called experts, can often be very influential.

It can be very easy to be drawn in by these "experts", who you presume have a great deal of knowledge about their subject. But, as we can see in many places these days, experts are not always quite what they seem.

In this blog i have often talked about social media and these days many people tout themselves as being social media experts. But, are they?
You can find examples of this all over the Internet and especially in places like Twitter. I'm followed by many of them myself, for some strange reason.
So, if you are in any doubt, ask questions and "let the buyer beware."

Of course, monetary matters are not the only topics covered. I've seen many predictions concerning which movies will be the blockbusters and which new bands will make the big time in 2012.
Often these are self fulfilling prophecies, as far as i'm concerned. After all, the more publicity something gets the more chance there is of it becoming a success.
If you are put onto a list of the bands to watch in 2012, you're already halfway there.

Politics are, of course, always part of these discussions and i can't help but wonder what predictions were made, by the experts, for 2011?
I have a feeling that things turned out rather differently from what was predicted.

At this time last year, a young Tunisian man by the name of Mohammed Bouazizi, was laying in a hospital bed near Tunis. He subsequently died, on 4th January, from the injuries sustained when he set himself alight on 17th December 2010.
His story is now very familiar to people right across the world. But, i doubt that when those experts considered their predictions for 2011 the name of Mohammed Bouazizi even crossed their minds. And, in their defence, i can understand why.

In many ways, Mohammed Bouazizi could be considered the man of the year for 2011 and quite rightly so. The influence that his tragically early death has had was something that nobody could have predicted.
The so called "Arab Spring" that followed his death, has led to the end of the rule of dictators in his native Tunisia, in Egypt and also in Libya. The effects are still being felt in Syria and Yemen right now.
It could also be argued that the effects of the Arab Spring have helped lead to the recent demonstrations in Russia and even to the Occupy Wall Street protests that have taken place across the world during 2011.

Political events are notorious for moving very slowly. But, as we have seen this year, it is not a good idea to rely on that.

So, predictions can be dangerous things and for many reasons.
Beware of always believing what you read, or hear from the mouths of the so called "experts".

After all, Nostradamus has often been proved wrong and how many times, over the past few years, have we been told that the world was about to end. Even down to what day and time it was going to happen.
In fact, those who believe what the Mayan calendar supposedly tells them, say that the world will end, once again, on 21st December 2012.
So, don't buy next years Christmas cards just yet!

Thankfully, we're all still here at the moment and i fully expect that we will be for some time yet.
In fact, that is my prediction.

Caveat Emptor.

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