Werth Knowing

2018 Fearless Forecast in Review

We made some bold predictions last December and here’s how we fared. To see our predictions for 2019, click here

A record number of women will win election to Congress. Last December we noted that 84 women served in the U.S. House of Representatives and 21 in the Senate – about 20 percent of membership in each house. We said that would change after the 2018 midterms, when record numbers of female candidates would run and win. We were right on both counts. A record 116 women were elected to Congress this year. While most of the electoral gains came in the House, where 102 women will serve, women also picked up four seats in the Senate – three by winning election, and one when Martha McSally was appointed to former Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vacant seat. Women also made huge gains in state legislatures – Nevada became the first state ever with a majority female legislature – and inroads in gubernatorial races.

Snapchat will be rendered insignificant. We said last December that in 2018 Snapchat would be “pushed off the dance floor once and for all.” Well, it’s still standing, but like the last contestant in a dance marathon, all it needs is a little push to collapse into a heap of quivering protoplasm. Snapchat already was facing stiff competition for ad revenues from Facebook, Google and others to begin the year. Then it launched a poorly received redesign that sent users toward the exits in droves. In the first quarter of 2018, 191 million people were using Snapchat every day. In the second quarter, 188 million were using Snapchat. The number dropped to 186 million in the third quarter and the company expects the trend to continue. Some reports say that up to 40 percent of staffers are expected to quit. While Snapchat’s not quite dead, it’s probably time to prepare the eulogy.

Cord cutting will lose its luster . We thought people would get sick of navigating the options and add-ons required for the elusive custom cable experience. So, we thought that meant cord cutters – those who abandon cable and satellite subscriptions – would slow. Not so fast, my friend. In 2018, the pace of cord cutting in the U.S. increased faster than expected, according to a new eMarketer report. The firm now says the number of cord cutters will climb to 33 million this year – a 32.8 percent increase that’s significantly higher than the predicted 22 percent growth rate and the 27.1 million cord cutters that had been expected by year’s end.

Hollywood actresses will quit doing nude scenes. According to an August story in The Hollywood Reporter, actresses in the #MeToo era feel more empowered to insist on keeping their clothes on, while directors and producers are less likely to pressure them. “The amount of nudity being requested is less,” according to Hollywood attorney Jamie Feldman. “People certainly are being a lot more sensitive about how they’re asking for that stuff and how it’s going to be perceived, about the possible accusation of being gratuitous.” And of course, another factor leading to less screen nudity was the fact that 2018 came and went without a single Game of Thrones episode.

Screen time will be the new smoking. There is no longer much debate about the harmful effects of extended screen time on children. Even the American Heart Association weighed in, releasing a study Aug. 6 declaring, “Smartphones, tablets, TVs and other screen-based devices are making kids more sedentary – and sedentary behavior is tied to overweight and obesity in young people.”

Civility will return – except in politics. A week of heinous hate crimes in October. Restaurants refusing to serve White House officials. Entertainers on the right (Rosanne Barr) and the left (Samantha Bee) wielding racist and sexist slurs. Maybe the politicians are rubbing off on the rest of us.