“In 2009 we saw exponential growth of social media. According to Nielsen Online, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, […] In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive — at least, that’s my guess. What are the near-term trends […]:
1. Social media begins to look less social
With groups, lists and niche networks becoming more popular, networks could begin to feel more “exclusive.” Not everyone can fit on someone’s newly created Twitter list and as networks begin to fill with noise, it’s likely that user behavior such as “hiding” the hyperactive updaters that appear in your Facebook news feed may become more common. Perhaps it’s not actually less social, but it might seem that way as we all come to terms with getting value out of our networks — while filtering out the clutter.
2. Corporations look to scale
There are relatively few big companies that have scaled social initiatives beyond one-off marketing or communications initiatives. Best Buy’s Twelpforce leverages hundreds of employees who provide customer support on Twitter. The employees are managed through a custom built system that keeps track of who participates. This is a sign of things to come over the next year as more companies look to uncover cost savings or serve customers more effectively through leveraging social technology.
3. Social business becomes serious play
Relatively new networks such as Foursquare are touted for the focus on making networked activity local and mobile. However, it also has a game-like quality to it which brings out the competitor in the user. Participants are incentivized and rewarded through higher participation levels. And push technology is there to remind you that your friends are one step away from stealing your coveted “mayorship.” As businesses look to incentivize activity within their internal or external networks, they may include carrots that encourage a bit of friendly competition.
4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)
If the company you work for doesn’t already have a social media policy in place with specific rules of engagement across multiple networks, it just might in the next year. From how to conduct yourself as an employee to what’s considered competition, it’s likely that you’ll see something formalized about how the company views social media and your participation in it.
5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline
With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it’s likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into “social media breaks” as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn’t looking. As a result, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social drug of choice.
6. Sharing no longer means e-mail
The New York Times iPhone application recently added sharing functionality which allows a user to easily broadcast an article across networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Many websites already support this functionality, but it’s likely that we will see an increase in user behavior as it becomes more mainstream for people to share with networks what they used to do with e-mail lists. And content providers will be all too happy to help them distribute any way they choose.
David Armano [@armano] is both an active practitioner and thinker in the worlds of digital marketing, experience design, and the social web. […]”
Comment by Daniel:
“One thing you missed, David: People will use lifestreaming platforms to add more context to their content. For instance, you may post that you’re eating a hamburger via Twitter — alas, the dreaded “what I ate” tweet — but if you were to use a lifestream platform such as Brightkite or Foursquare, you can add dimension to your content so it actually helps others.
But this is one part of lifestreaming. The other, you see, is aggregation [‘Don’t waste time with visiting twitter.com or blogs – Aggregate everything via rss’].
Look for companies to develop storystreaming platforms that enable brands — and individuals — to stream in content from the social web. Since content curation is a key part of this, look for this year’s “killer app” to be a tool that enables power users (brand managers, agencies, community managers, etc.) to fine-tune the content that gets pulled in. […]”
Comment by Jason:
“Social media will become more global in 2010.
With Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter all gear up on their language translation capabilities, we will see an interesting growth of international users on all these platforms.
Social media will become an increasingly important medium for global brands to market toward oversea consumers. It will be interesting to see how multi-national brand managers can tap into rich social data and engagement oversea without having to leave the corporate headquarter.”
David Armano’s response to comments:
“Seems that the most common, high value use of social media mechanisms is to bypass bad operating designs (service models).”
Yes. Yes. Yes. Social service design possibly? The signs are here, this will probably get traction in the next year in a more formalized way. Again, Twelpforce is an early indicator.
Jason, Global is a good point.
Other themes here that I think would emerge is the popularity of anything that can support the real time Web or as we call “dynamic signals” As Daniel eludes to , storytelling in a real time Web becomes storystreaming. Brands and content providers will have tremendous opportunities here if leadership can persuade the lawyers.
And most definitely social commerce. I already know of a few players planning these initiatives.”
Comment by Loraine Antrim:
“One trend in social media as we approach 2010 is that the “media” aspect will increase dramatically. Video is exploding on the web; more and more blogs include links to video content and as mobile devices expand the use of video, we will see even more video content in all aspects of social media. Also, the idea of “Social” will take second seat to corporations’ use of social media, but the real trend is the increase of SMBs who will start to use social media as a strategy for attraction and retention of customers. […]”