Last year, we all witnessed the rapid growth of the social media. Nielsen Online reported that Twitter alone grew 1,382 percent in February with over seven million unique visitors in the United States for that month. It added that Facebook still towers over MySpace. So what new trends can we expect from the social media this year? Here are some thoughts on the subject:
Social media will look less social – with groups, lists and niche networks getting popular, networks will become more “exclusive.” Not everyone can have a place on someone’s new Twitter list. As networks begin to grow, “hiding” the hyperactive updaters in your Facebook news feed may become commonplace. It’s not really less social but it will appear that way as we all try to get some value out of our networks while removing the clutter.
There are only a few large firms that have scaled social initiatives beyond one-off marketing or communications initiatives. Best Buy’s Twelpforce leverages hundreds of employees to give customer support on Twitter. The employees are managed through a system that keeps track of who participates.This is a sign that more companies will try to uncover cost savings or serve customers efficiently through leveraging social technology.
Social media will become local and reach the grassroots level – with the growing number of context relevant iPhone apps, the progress of mashups in mapping and the rise of geo-tagged news and promotion, the world is becoming smaller and local. Fifty percent of a person’s Facebook network is local. So while people think globally, social networks compel them to act locally.
It all boils down to money – newspapers have changed course and are asking money for premium content to survive. At present, Hulu is doing it and YouTube might be next. Twitter will begin introducing money-making options this year. It seems that money does make the world go round and getting it is the name of the game.