It's prediction season again and we've pulled together our best prognostications for the 2010 social media season.
Here they are:
1) Attention overload and filtering - Twitter , spammers and aggregated content engines have finally shortened our attention window to a nanosecond - it is beginning to be tough to separate the good stuff on the web vs. the bad - A-listing, really smart SEO and SMO and private huddle spaces will become popular in 2010 social media as a result.
2) Brand Community building - strong companies that have used internal collaboration start extending their tentacles out into their customer and partner networks - the ones doing it already will do more (apparently 93% of them) and new players will enter the branded network ring (estimated to be 60% of them according to Gartner) - some will fail, others will succeed.
3) Local & Grassroots - with the number of context relevant iPhone apps, the advancement of mashups in mapping and the intriguing business model of geo-tagged news and promotion, as it once was so it is again - the world is local. 50% of a person's Facebook network is local - wo whereas we might want to have people think Global, when it comes to social, they act local.
4) Monetization - newspapers have reversed course and are charging money for premium content as a survival play, Hulu is doing it - will Youtube be next?, Twitter will start introducing revenue generating options in their 2010 year...even though we've had 5 years to the contrary, money truly does make the world go round, this time it needs to be real money not just that VC and takeover stuff
5) Radical Reinvention of Agencies - 50 questions asked and the number 1 thing that marketers can agree on is that agencies need to reinvent themselves to stay competitive - consultant specialization, new compensation schemes, customer experience owners, industrial, product and brand design, representing customers as an alliance, somebody needs to reinvent this colossus to ensure its future survival
6) Employee Social Media - what used to be a hindrance - a large, bureaucratic/disconnected culture, might now be a boost to fight off smaller more nimbler adversaries. Big iconic companies have not been able to marshal its scale in social media until now - we will see many more big companies dive into the social web in a well-coordinated fashion like Zappos, Direct to Dell and Best Buy's Twelpforce (now over 14,000 deep) with more bodies and resources
7) Brandividuals - borrowing the term from David Armano that suggests personal brands = corporate brands - the myth that you can have a personal life and a professional life in social media simultaneously continues to wither away - it may be sad for many,but transparency and open relationships is the new mantra = we don't want to know who you are targeting, we want to know who was involved...and we will in 2010 - as a related development, we will see personal online brands link up more closely with companies as Scott Monty has done with Ford
8) Content Syndication - those with the ability to connect and extend out their social media footprint will win in the future of the internet - sure, use your community site as a headquarters but establish some sentry posts, patrol stations and love bunkers on the perimeter of the web - with 70% of what's on the web expected to be user generated or social by 2013 - you need to be everywhere
9) Community Managers/Evangelists - community efforts are notoriously underfunded but yet staffed by these brilliantly talented individuals - expect companies to add resources here and industries that have stayed away to start recruiting for these Renaissance frontline people that operate between social media and the company
10) Collaborative Real Time Communication - with Google Wave, never again will you be stuck in an email back and forth, think about WebEx for consumers, think BaseCamp for parent user groups - old user unfriendly, techy-loved wikis are now being pushed aside for content rich, seamless-to-use collaborative areas that Aunt Ethel, cousin Bob and tech-illiterate CEO can now use
11) Joint Ventures - if you are in the business of satisfying customer wants and maxing out their experience, then you are in the business of collaborating with other companies sometimes equals - as was the case with the Nike+/Apple jogging community - expect to see some of that spirit of collaboration end up as brand alliances online
12) Portability of Social Media - whether it's Mobifests, interactive signage, Pico projectors, roll up TVs - the hardware we're using has become so small and smart that a lot of live events don't require staging anymore - smart mobs, instant film fests and social media-driven live games are the new live entertainment and sports, given the whole idea of augmented reality enabled by these advancements, we may hear more of the term "Transocialmedia Play" in the future
13) Crowdsourcing Sacred Cows - we've all heard of the great crowdsourcing successes of tech (Dell Ideastorm), advertising (Frito Lay), startups (Cambrian House), t-shirts (Threadless), entertainment (Netflix) and even mining (Goldcorp) but what about three sacred and quite large cows that have successful repelled the force of the crowd until now: banking, real estate and insurance. Early advancements with Zopa, Prosper, Community Lend and Zillow suggest that other breakthroughs are around the corner and some cows may need to sacrificed
14) Word of Mouth Marketing - despite all form of exciting new tech and media advancements, the power of the human voice still ranks #1 ...and rising. Engaged word of mouth still drives decision-making (about 2/3rds of it if you're an average category) and is expected to grow faster than any other form of marketing spend. With the crushing weight of new media and product choice, the only way to keep things straight for people seems to be to follow the advice of a trusted friend.
15) Math Marketing and Data Visualization - not only is there a crushing weight of media and products, we've not hit breaking points on information too. To be able to pull out insight from the excrement of data, smart left brains have teamed up with smart right brains to look at interesting ways to visualize data. Look to advancements that will wend their way into social media and make tag clouds and social graphs look like simple hobby horses in the future.
16) Video social media - first there were words, than there were pictures and now there will be video. Why now? A number of reasons: smart, simple and cheap devices that make taking video easy (i.e. Flip), smart, big companies that want to be your social media video architect not just the plumber like Cisco (also now owners of Flip), mobile networks moving to 4G enabling video transmission, video editing software putting the edit function in the hands of the people, the cost of memory storage making a mad rush to zero. Estimates are as high as 90% of internet traffic and 64% of mobile traffic will be video-based by 2013.
So there you have it. Any additions, subtractions or changes my fellow Nostradamuses (Nostradami)?