A Fearless Forecast for 2018

When it comes to making predictions, we choose to be bold. With that in mind, the Werth team offers you another year’s worth of fearless forecasts. Bring on 2018! 

A record number of women will win election to Congress

In 2017, 105 women held seats in the United States Congress: 84 in the House of Representatives and 21 in the Senate, or about 20 percent of membership in each house. That will change after the 2018 midterms, when throngs of women trained to run for office in programs such as the nonpartisan “Ready to Run” workshops will take to the ballot — and win. This surge will create the kind of electoral interest that prompts us also to predict the midterm voter turnout will reach an all-time high.

Snapchat will be rendered insignificant

In 2018, Snapchat will be pushed off the dance floor once and for all. The app and ad markets have coalesced around two companies — Facebook and Google. Of the five most downloaded apps worldwide, Facebook owns four (WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram). Sitting at number five is Snapchat, with Google’s YouTube not far behind. Meanwhile, Facebook and Google together are expected in 2018 to pull in 66 percent of all digital advertising revenue in the U.S., compared to just 1 percent for Snapchat. The two leaders will pull away as the gap proves to be too much for Snapchat to overcome.

Cord cutting will lose its luster 

Telling the cable company it can keep its plan becomes less enticing as potential cord cutters navigate options and add-ons required in the quest for the elusive custom cable experience. Consider the antennas needed to capture staple networks, color-coded plans and upgrades required just to get the channels you expect in a plan. Adding in a need to negotiate with a new internet provider and to determine whether you need an actual PlayStation to watch PlayStation Vue (you don’t), frustrations aren’t likely to go away just by cutting the cord. Unbundling out of spite and to save a few bucks will prove more complicated and inconvenient when considering the wires are already in the wall.

Hollywood actresses will quit doing nude scenes

The Harvey Weinstein scandal won’t cure Hollywood of its institutional sexism, but it will make a difference. The change some moviegoers are mostly likely to notice is a sharp reduction in female nudity. Producers and directors will think twice before pressuring young actresses to disrobe on-screen — and young actresses will feel more empowered to say no when they are asked. How will Hollywood adjust? Probably by doubling down on violence.

Screen time will be the new smoking

2018 will be the year children’s screen time transforms from a helicopter parent’s issue to a health issue. Recent reports, such as the Penn State College of Medicine study released this month, have linked the number of hours spent looking at smart phones, tablets, computers and TV screens to sleep deprivation, weight problems and depression. The clear health risks of prolonged screen time for kids will inspire public health campaigns similar to what we saw for smoking, seat belts and junk food in decades past. Turns out that nagging mom was right.

Civility will return – except in politics

With the Mueller investigation, congressional sex scandals and midterm elections looming, year two of the Trump administration will be even nastier than the first. But elsewhere, the rest of us will be so embarrassed by the behavior of our leaders, we’ll make an extra effort to project decency, maybe even kindness, and find apolitical events to bring us together, such as royal weddings and Star Wars movies. To highlight this trend, look for Kanye West to bury the hatchet either with Taylor Swift or Jay Z — but probably not both.