The Future of Social Media in 2010

Social Media, it’s been a topic for more than a few conversations in 2009. From Oprah, to Iran, to Michael Jackson, and Starbucks, this has been the year that social media became mainstream. Quantcast reports that Twitter has grown from 6 million to 24 million from January-October 2009 while Facebook boasts adding more than 1.5 million new users daily. And the New Oxford American Dictionary unveiled its word of the year in November as, “unfriend.” And by unfriend I’m referring to the delicate online etiquette that surrounds the concept of removing someone as an online connection, follower, or friend. If you don’t believe me, a quick Google Search resulted in more than 5.7 million online mentions of the word. And until recently it wasn’t even considered part of the English language.

It seems clear that 2009 is truly the year of the New Media.

And for those of us who live in this fast paced world we ask, “So what’s next?”

According to the Gartner Hype Cycle, the future of social media is Cloud Computing, Internet TV, Virtual Worlds, and possibly a new type of microblogging platform. The Gartner Type Cycle or Curve is the graphic representation of the maturity, adoption, and business application of specific technologies. The actual Gartner Cycle includes five different phases: 1) Technology Trigger, 2) Peak of Inflated Expectations, 3) Trough of Disillusionment, 4) Slope of Enlightenment, and 5) Plateau of Productivity.

Never heard of the Gartner Hype Cycle? The Gartner Hype Cycle is most notably known for being used to predict the dot-come burst in 2001 by Alex Drobik in 1999. Basically, the concept has been around and in some circles is a considerable method in which to predict the future rise and fall of technologies.

Aside from prediction tools like the Gartner Cycle, it doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that social media is here to stay. Just like a football game, the fanfare and excitement surrounding social media ebbs and flows in large tides as the excitement and anticipation builds or after a big time play. We are currently experiencing a considerably large amount of attention surrounding social media because of the news and media hype while the influencers move to discover the next big thing. Over the next year, the new media market will being to flatten as it becomes a form of status quo. I do believe, however, that there will be a number of new technologies and strategies that will demand our attention in 2010.

  • Video. Either live streaming, you tube, or video blogging, video is the new medium in which influencers are using to communicate their brand and message.
  • Microcommunities. In the last two years, social media has made the world much smaller allowing us access to people regardless of business title or location. We will shift to the opposite side of the spectrum by focusing on our home towns and communities from where we currently reside.
  • Location Awareness. Your location matters and as microblogging has changed the way we communicate, GPS based applications on our mobile phones will shape how, when, and why we let people know what has your attention.
  • Focus on Mobile Technology. New mobile technologies outside of the iPhone like the Android will demand our attention. Our thirst for real time news, technology, and information will drive theses tools’ popularity.
  • Internal New Media Platforms. As companies begin to embrace social media as a legitimate business tool, internal social media networks will rise to the forefront. I have already begun seeing businesses including Starbucks and NASA develop internal platforms beyond basic instant messaging tools like Yammer. NASA’s internal communication is called “Spacebook.”

I’m excited to see what 2010 and social media has in store for us.

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