June 16, 2011

Top 10 Predictions on What’s Coming Up Next in Social Media

future-web

Ayelet NoffAt the beginning of the month I was asked to speak on a panel that discussed social media, social networks and “what’s coming up next.” In research for this discussion, I came up with a few insights on what I foresee coming up next in the world of social media.

Here are my top 10 prognostications:

1The physical and digital worlds will be more highly connected than ever before — already today we are able to run in the park and track our progress online while sharing it with our friends or track our weight loss, or even our ovulation (well, some of us, that is) with iPhone apps that connect to our Facebook and Twitter profiles and enable us to keep track of our progress as well as share the data with our friends. Robert Scoble had a brilliant presentation on this topic at the last TNW Conference in Amsterdam. You can see it here.

2Facebook, Twitter and other major social networks will become increasingly what Fred Wilson termed “social dashboards.”.In essence, Facebook and Twitter are social channels on which other companies can grow and develop their own technologies and businesses. Both Facebook and Twitter have created economies far larger than many nations. Take, for example, companies like Stocktwits, Tweetdeck and Zynga (among others) that have made huge profits piggybacking on these two platforms.

3Until now, brands have been very concerned with bringing as many people as possible to their pages. Consumer brands can now finally reap the fruits and build social commerce stores where Facebook users (all 600 million of them) can purchase products on their favorite social network without needing to go to any destination site. Facebook will become one of the major channels of future online shopping.

4Companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon are currently collecting information about each and every one of us: our likes and dislikes, our interests and activities. Soon in an age of Web 3.0, an age of Semantic Web, we will no longer need to search for information on the Web as information will find us based on all this data that companies are collecting. The right information will be served to the right people at the right time, saving us all a lot of time, effort and energy.

5Mobile technology will become more dominant and near field communication (NFC technology) will be developed further enabling it to offer us special promotions, coupons and tips based on our geographical location and the interest graph we discussed in insight #3.

6Human relationships will no longer be as physically dependent and we will befriend and hang out with people from all over the world and all walks of life, all ethnicities and all beliefs, creating a worldwide melting pot.

7We will no longer be passive media consumers. Media will interact with us in dynamic ways on all platforms. Just like gamers playing World of Warcraft today, we will all become a part of a virtual world unknown to us yet where we will all be avatars in the game of life.

8As the Web is overloaded with more information, the content that we are exposed to will become more and more customized to our needs as companies will give large sums of money to companies like Facebook and Google, making sure that the information we are exposed to is highly targeted to our interests. Rather than experiencing information overload, we will actually experience the opposite effect.

9Companies will understand better how to measure the ROI of social media and realize that social media is not about the number of people brands have in their communities but rather the amount of engagement that they see on their page and the overall online sentiment they faced this month as opposed to the last. See Gary Vaynerchuk’s response to how companies should measure the ROI of social media in the video link above.

10Services will become increasingly crowdsourced. Whether it be the way that we get from point A to point B (Waze), the way that we find answers to our questions (Quora), the manner in which we test our Websites (uTest), the way that we get things done (Fiverr) or the way that we share information (Wikipedia).

All of these insights are of course complete speculations based on my years in the world of social media and after following trends occurring all over the digital space.

Do you agree with these speculations? Is anything missing? What do you think is coming up next in social media?

This post was originally posted on The Next Web on June 14.Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

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  • Hector

    “… with iPhone apps that connect to our Facebook and Twitter…”, seriously, iphone is not the only smartphone out there, nor the best or most capable. If you would have written something like “mobile apps” or something like that, you would show a bit more of a knowledge on the subject.

    • Graeme

      I'm sure we all knew what she means. Funny how non iPhone users get sooooo upset when iPhone is used as the generic of Smartphones.

    • It is really a very good predictions actually. I would like to give information about Near field communication. With this advanced technology, people can pay the money without using credit cards. Suppose if your phone does have your credit card information, you can simply use that instead of swapping credit cards. It is going to create a new trend in E-commerce arena.

      Similarly Fiverr micro jobs would play a major role in future to eradicate unemployment and create new jobs for young entrepreneurs.

  • jdlasica

    Ayelet, terrific predictions. A lot of folks in this sector are reluctant to predict what might happen a week from now, much less a year or more. Point 6 seems a bit idealistic, we'll see how it plays out.

  • Indeed a gr8 post… looking at trends is really important as you plan your marketing strategy….. measure the ROI of online marketing via social media is a real goal to solve… its hard since its a very dynamic environment, where goals are changed by the minute and its hard to really build a long term strategy… :)

  • Thanks so much JD. I actually believe that all these predictions will come into play at one point or another in the next few years. Time will tell :-)

  • In an age where we do many things online either via search engine or social network or web browsing for professional purposes and personal purposes, how are the 2 going to be seperated to serve me appropriate content (#4) ? Although I do actively read and participate in things 'work related' during my 'off' time, how can web intelligience delineate between the two? I dont want to have search results appear based on my activity at work if I am trying to accomplish something for personal reasons. I have seen this prediction in other places and always wondered how it will pan out.

  • CheckInSocialMedia

    Insightful predictions. Accurate based on social media trends, but the mention of large companies profiling us, as I know they do, that you touch upon in 4 & 8 can still be a nuisance. As a consumer, just because I like one thing, does not mean I'll like a similar product, book, movie, etc.

  • ttt

    The only company currently actually doing NFC and social media is 6Starz (6Starz.com). Others are still planning. This will be interesting when the devices come in volumes.

  • Christina and CheckInSocialMedia, agreed. I also feel the same. A separation between the personal me and professional me is definitely lacking in order to appropriately “categorize” my likes and interests.

  • #9 is key to many companies embracing Social Media to begin with. So many want instant results, and what they mean by “results” is rising in search engine ranking. That's really not the point of social media at all.

  • These prognostications seem quite reasonable, although I believe the opportunities expected from mobile and NFC have been overestimated by many. Our Austin search engine optimization company has many clients with mobile apps and social media programs targeting “mobile consumers”, i.e., smart phone and tablet owners.

    The problem is: many people use their smart phones all the time — at home, at work and other places where they really aren't “mobile” and are not in a position to take advantage of mobile offers. We've seen estimates that these mobile devices are only mobile 35% of the time.

  • I want to say that Electronic verification systems allow merchants to verify in a few seconds that the card is valid and the credit card customer has sufficient credit to cover the purchase, allowing the verification to happen at time of purchase. The verification is performed using a credit card payment terminal or point-of-sale (POS) system with a communications link to the merchant's acquiring bank.

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