In the past two years we have seen the emergence of social media. Last year, 2010, we saw social media integration across applications, devices and platforms, mobile taking the centre stage as a medium to social networking, Organising adopting social media as an important part of their marketing and communication. We also saw marketers focusing on Social media ROI, Social CRM, and 360 Degree marketing which focuses on social media as the core of marketing activity. I believe that it is safe to say that these trends are coming closure to became reality and I expect some of them to become standard of social marketing in years to come.
Come year 2011, it will be manifested with new developments that will shape the very fabric of our cultural, social behaviour, identity and personality. With more than 500 million people on Facebook, some 60 million tweets posted on Twitter each day, and more than 2 billion video views on YouTube each day—, social media has become an integral part of our social lives. All these developments will challenge us to consider important questions about the future of our experience as connected people and consumers. Here are some trends to watch out for in the coming year:-
I. Social media will inflate
Social media will not only get supersized with more and more users joining it from the ever growing middle class countries like India, china, Russia, Brazil etc, it will drive adoption of cloud computing/ SaaS going forward. We will see a surge of service providers bundling social networks, engagement widgets, video, mobile capabilities, cloud services and analytics, with their own unique services and proprietary capabilities; telecommunications companies will offer video tools for businesses and consumers with greater bandwidth, storage and syndication; learning management systems (LMS) integrators will add engagement, archiving, training and collaboration tools for a deeper and more engaging academic experience.
2. Corporations look to scale: Consumer Feedback + Boardroom
We have already seen few big names on the corporate world are already going beyond using social channels merely for building awareness and providing support. Soon companies will start realizing the potential of social media as a feedback mechanism to make inform strategic decisions, and execute on the organization’s objectives, marketing plans, product roadmaps and customer relationship management. I expect to see an increase in the number of corporations getting recognized for socially-informed innovation, customer focus and work environment, —much like Starbucks and Zappos were in the year 2008 to 2010.
3. Mobile to fuel the social media growth in 2011
2010 marked the year in which infrastructure, technology and design finally intersected in the mobile space. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline, with more and more organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smart phones outpaced sales of desktops and laptops, iPhone and iPad applications were downloaded more than 7 billion times and research shows e-mail access is now on the rise on the iPhone while declining on the computer. It’s likely that employees and general public will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette/ tea 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 favourite social drug of choice.
Facebook recently announced that the site now has 150 million mobile users worldwide. Much of this has to do with the rapid growth of app usage, specifically on smartphones. Perhaps not surprisingly, social networking apps are the fastest growing category of all apps, with download rates increasing by 240% in the last year. Of these, Facebook apps are tend to be the most popular; in fact, Facebook is the number one app across most mobile operating systems.
With the strong foundation in place, this year we will witness the scales tilt: Mobile device users will interact with content, companies and the Web more on their phones and iPads than on their computers, and IT and service providers will create solutions that are defined by our mobile consumption and use behaviours. From social shopping on the go, to easy paperless transactions and check-ins, to watching (and creating) videos with friends abroad, to in-class learning and collaboration, to managing our health real-time – prepare for an explosion of connected experiences across all points of interactions between people and people, people and companies, and people and information in the cloud.
4. Social media has rediscovered activism
When ten thousand protesters took to the streets in Moldova in the spring of 2009 to protest against their country’s Communist government, the action was named the Twitter Revolution, because of the means by which the demonstrators had been brought together. A few months after that, when student protests rocked Tehran, the US State Department took the unusual step of asking Twitter to suspend scheduled maintenance of its Web site, because the Administration didn’t want such a critical organizing tool out of service at the height of the demonstrations. Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools.
With the power made possible by social technologies to connect, inform and mobilize, we will see a surge in self-organized and managed citizen activism. Some of the best examples of Indian Social Activism are: The Pink Chaddi Campaign – a nonviolent protest movement against right wing religious groups beating up women going to pubs or wearing clothes they don’t approve of, Bell Bajao fighting domestic violence and abuse in India, bringing people together to beautify walls in the city – The Wall Project and getting urban masses to donate their old cycles to rural children -The Bicycle Project, these sites have built up successful online movements and then skilfully steered them into real world. By the end of the year we may each join a group of people we have never met in order to take part in bringing about change in completely new ways.
Social media has rediscovered activism. It has mead it easier for general public to collaborate, coordinate, and give voice to their concerns.
5. Focus on cyber law and security infrastructure will increase
The misuse of information, other criminal and unwarranted activities on social networking platforms and social media is ensured that there will be number of legal challenges that Cyber law jurisprudence will have to tackle in the year 2011. This subject has such a significance the United Nation Internet Governance Forum has created the Dynamic Coalition on Social Media and Legal Issues to look into the specific issue. It will be interesting to see how legislations across the world deal with these complicated legal issues pertaining to social media and social networking.