Stu Atkins from Social Seedling is all about the future.  As we approach the end of another busy, innovative year, Stu takes a look at the top 9 points predicted to evolve in 2018.  Are you ready?


Now more than ever, organisations are under immense pressure to be all inclusive and diverse.  Not only from an internal employee engagegement perspective, but the image they portray to the broader market.

In the past, sexist messages were seen as a quickfire path to notoriety (‘any publicity is good publicity’) – now, the public will call out the sexism to the negative and this can cause immense negative pressure.  We’ve all seen the impact Social Media can have on a negative message.  For example…

Moral of the story:  controversy isn’t the golden ticket to attention, especially when it comes to diversity challenging themes.

Social Media is 99% Social Marketing

You need to pay to play.  Simple.  If you have spent hours building an engaged and relevant audience on Insta and Facebook, they won’t notice even the smallest amount of content you post.  Unless you PAY for it.

Social Seedling has 1,245 likes on Facebook – yet if we post something Facebook decides isn’t that engaging (hard to believe, I know), it might only be reached by 80 – 100 people.  Facebook’s algorithm is deeply intelligent and it understands which content each of us enjoy watching / reading.  Have you ever noticed after clicking on a single post from a particular page, all of a sudden you are seeing their content far more regularly?  That’s the algorithm at work.

So apart from the need to make sure your content is always changing, engaging and relevant to your target market, you need to PAY to promote your content, either to the audience that is already liking your page, or a new audience.

Moral of the Story – you have to PAY to PLAY on Social.

Virtual Realty

Since Facebook purchased one of the first VR headset manufacturers Oculus Rift for $2bill US, we knew VR was going to be a big play for Social interactions.  Enter Facebook Spaces.  A world where you become a lifelike Avatar and can engage with your friends in lifelike situations.  It’s currently in BETA form and with an Oculus headset you can get involved today!


Interactive Entertainment

In October, Steven Soderbergh released an interactive murder – mystery called Mosaic, where viewers can navigate an interactive story-line.  Not only are we now demanding WHEN we get to watch the tv shows / movies we want, but now it seems we actually want a say in how the plot will transpire!  Check out the pretty awesome trailer here.

Kid ‘Influencers’

If you have young children, chances are you’ve overheard them watching youtube clips on how to make slime, or opening gifts… I’m not sure if you’ve checked recently, but these young (and somewhat irritating) internet stars are receiving MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of views, and hence are making small fortunes.

But the bigger picture is the influence they are having on the target audience – the kids who are asking to make / buy / subscribe to products and services based on the advice of these influencers.  Advertisers take note – these kids are being paid to push products in lieu of expensive TV commercials and are enjoying a far higher level of engagement at a fraction of the cost.  Ryan, this little punk from the US who must be all of 5, as just set a World Record for number of Youtube views and has 10mill subscribers.  Warning, prepare to be irritated…


“I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR” said Tim Cook, Apple CEO back in October 2017.  And he’d know.  Gap recently launched the ability to try on clothes using your own virtual 3d model.  Real Estate now allows you to virtually walk through a property and superimpose different types of furnishings.  It started as Pokemon Go but is now a real way to trial products, walk through stores or see how things look prior to purchasing.

Here that?

Voice recognition is here.  And it’s powering how we get around, how we learn things and even communicate.

Real time translation of different languages into an ear piece sounds sci – fi but that’s now a reality.  30% of all google interactions are via voice activated requests.

Home appliances are now being driven by voice, home assistants can control more aspects of your life than ever before and I personally am a little concerned about how much is being listened to.  But it’s now a part of everyday life.


Here’s a network that’s going to be 100 times faster than the current 4G network and is coming soon.  Some tech developments will need the 5G network before being rolled out – think Driverless cars needing to send huge amounts of data across networks to be efficient.    The result for end consumers is insanely fast mobile data networks and probably at a cheaper rate.

Personalised Manufacturing

Yet again, personalised demand is driving new innovation.  Consumers are looking to stand out more than ever before and that can mean a slight variation of a trendy product will create a demand and see the consumer prepared to pay more for this personalization.

New tech means manufacturers will be able to produce smaller batches with personalization.  Think Coke back in the day producing cans with peoples names on them.  For us Aussies, you can even order Vegemite with your own label.

On a slightly grander scale, Adidas has created ‘Speedfactory’ in Germany, allowing small batch designs for specific markets quickly.


Stu Atkins is the co – founder of Social Seedling and a Keynote presenter at, based in Victoria, Australia.  For more information email