✅ IN: Threads
❌ OUT: X
After a splashy launch in July
2023 and then a sputter... Threads is finally gaining some momentum in both downloads and activity.
It's not a direct replacement for X. ("Talking business at Threads feels like I'm talking shop at a dinner party," my friend Carole said to me this week. Fair nuf.) But it looms as an alternative
for the troubled X platform. My heart is full of hope. (Follow me there. We can talk about writing. And Taylor Swift.)
✅ IN: LinkedIn
❌ OUT: The LinkedIn pitch-slap
Listen, I have long said that LinkedIn would still be standing tall in the smoke of social rubble. I still love connecting with new people there.
But sometimes you connect with someone and they hit your DMs immediately with a Calendly link. Ugh. Somewhere in the distance, a kitten mews a deep, troubled sigh.
✅ IN: AI
❌ OUT: Metaverse
Is the Metaverse dead? Or still under construction? IDK. But the hype is dead. On the other hand, AI went from having a *moment* to rolling with real momentum.
✅ IN: AI utility
❌ OUT: AI gimmicks
AI until now has felt a bit like magic and sorcery. Fear ("Let's fire the writers and outsource to AI robots!"). Apocalypse.
Party tricks. Buzzy interactions (that odd conversation a year ago between the NYTimes reporter and Bing). Last year was also a year of experimenting and one-offs.
But 2024 takes a more level-headed approach to AI tools and platforms. 2024 is when we quit arguing about AI and start figuring out how to operationalize AI to make us more effective and efficient and (yes) accountable. Tools become integrated... not bolted on. Fear scatters on the wind of robot song.
✅ IN: Writers
❌ OUT: AI cut-paste
You can't give a generative AI tool to a terrible writer and expect ridiculously good results. Is AI powerful? Yes. But is it
But you know who is magical...? Writers. We writers fueled with AI is why I call this period in history the Great Writing RenAIssance.
✅ IN: Prompt literacy
❌ OUT: Prompt engineers
AI prompting is the act of figuring out how to query a machine to deliver the output you want. And while prompt engineers might've been in demand in some corners of 2023, the evolution of AI interfaces to be more intuitive and easier to use is going to make Prompt
Engineer as a job role go the way of the Blockbuster Store Manager.
Plus, we should all be responsible for our own literacy. Around AI... and otherwise.
✅ IN: Authentic experiences
❌ OUT: Slick marketing
A natural counterpoint to AI everywhere will be great authenticity in marketing (and in life): analog, artisanal crafted experiences that are sticky with human imperfection and that sing with craft.
✅ IN: Relatable brand voice
❌ OUT: Buttoned-up brand voice
AI makes it easier to create mediocrity at scale. So content in 2024 has an opportunity: Signal clear human voices. Elevate the leaders
behind your thought leadership. Hone and evolve your brand voice... FINALLY.
✅ IN: Long-term brand
❌ OUT: Short-term growth
Both are important. But
long-term brand-building has been too often sacrificed at the altar of shortermism.
✅ IN: Showing
❌ OUT: Telling
Should the "In" here be storytelling?
Maybe. Because storytelling shows. Stories make your products and services come alive. They put them in the context of people's lives. They intrinsically answer the question: Why should I care?
Make your customer the hero of your story means you show how you help.
✅ IN: Nuanced thinking
❌ OUT: Either/or mindset
With the always-on dopamine hit of likes and shares propelled often by outrage... our world rewards black-and-white absolute thinking and a partisan mindset.
But most things up close are rarely all black or all white. There are a million shades of gray, from gunmetal to dove. (Sherwin-Williams says its best-selling shade of paint is called "Agreeable
Gray." Do with that what you will.)
We are complex creatures capable of seeing those shades of gray and holding seemingly opposing ideas at the same time, aren't we? I have to think yes.
✅ IN: Slow strategy/Fast execution
❌ OUT: Speed
Speed at all costs makes you careen off the road. Speed (in business, writing, life) matters. But let's slow down and create a solid strategy first... then run at it, pedal to the floor. And now I've exhausted my supply
of Formula 1 metaphors for all of 2024.
✅ IN: Kind
❌ OUT: Nice
Kind is telling someone their fly is open.
is not telling them because it's uncomfortable.
Kind people are willing to speak up.
Nice people are afraid to speak up. They want to be liked.
I overheard that breakdown recently from two women behind me in line at the post office. And I can't stop thinking about it.
❌ OUT: 365 days
IN 366 days
Happy Leap Year!