Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Key Trends in Social Media for 2010

January 6th, 2010: summarized from rave news -- Social media, by its very nature, is fluid. Constant changes in industry tactics and developments in technology happen at such a lightning pace that it’s hard to predict what will happen next week let alone what will happen in the next 12 months. But there are some trends that look to be cresting in 2010.

• The two key words for 2010 will be mobile and integration. With Google releasing the Nexus One and the iPhone continuing to become more and more mainstream, smartphones are going to become the rule rather than the exception in 2010 and while you are using your smart phones you are going to want to easily access all of your social media networks. That’s where the integration comes in. Applications that help you manage your Facebook or Twitter accounts are going to have to allow you to manage your complete online presence (plus LinkedIn, YouTube and whatever the next thing to come along is).

Sites like Ping.fm are already moving forward with a one-stop access point for social media and others, like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, are following suit. Someone is going to become the clear leader, with the easiest interface, in this space. Winner of that prize will be a household word by year’s end. But it may be a site we already know about (Facebook, anyone?) that decides to flex its muscles and become the headquarters for everyone’s social media.

• Businesses will ratchet up their use of iPhone apps and location-based information. I’ve written before about the growth of Gowalla and GPS-based services online, which allow users to check in from locations around the city. I think businesses will get wise about these type of services and offer premiums, either in partnership with Gowalla or independently, that reward patrons who use these services and promote, through influential word-of-mouth, their businesses. Discounts, virtual goodies or VIP access could be the reward waiting for savvy mobile users.

Gowalla’s emphasis in virtual tokens for every check-in has given it an edge on Foursquare, especially in the markets that Foursquare is just getting established in. But it also has some currency to leverage with the businesses, which want to see some ROI in using this tech to relate with customers.

• The use of social media during sports, and any other shared experiences, will increase in 2010. Look for more and more teams to develop not only their own mobile applications, but also allow fans to interact with each other and some members of the organization during the games themselves. Live Twitter feeds on some part of the scoreboard, live chats with the announcers during the events and the ability to get audio and video anywhere.

Teams outside the U.S. – like members of Britain’s Premier soccer league – are doing all they can to squeeze mobile money out of its die-hard fans. College teams have the highest ceiling in this area in the U.S., so look for more specialized info from them (for a price).

• Baby Boomer domination on Facebook. What once started out as a college site will totally turn itself over to the Baby Boomer generation in 2010, since they will now have access, motivation and the spending power to supercharge Facebook’s bottom line. The shift in demographics may mean younger users search out the next big thing, since they won’t want to be excessive sharing (or answering questions) with mom and dad. That could shake up the landscape or revive a brand that’s sitting dormant.

That’s a broad look at what could happen in 2010, beyond the continued mainstream adoption of sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Of course, there may be a site that springs up out of nowhere and into the forefront of the space. That’s the fluid nature of the Web and what makes it so exciting to be a part of.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/8I9b4V

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