Brands, agencies, and marketers working in digital media will tell you, innovation happens so rapidly that predicting future trends and reviewing trends from previous years can either be illuminating, or a subtle evolution, as platforms attempt to better monetize their offerings from the previous year's developments.
Conferences have long been opportunities to connect, share information, develop new working relationships and uncover new ways to approach solutions to vexing problems. Before the widespread use of technology and social media, that information was limited to those in attendance. Even then, connecting with other attendees could be difficult. Anyone unable to attend the conference missed out all together!
This 'Internet of things' we call the web has naturally morphed into The Facebook, Twitterland and numerous other social media channels, where a generation of millennials and select old people (generation x'ers and the like) spend their every waking minute contributing and curating content in hopes of engaging 'someone.'