Future Trends in Social Media

August 3, 2009 at 1:38 PM Leave a comment

As part of an assignment to help our company discover trends we should be responding to, I was placed on a couple of executive strategy teams to research particular outside influencers that will impact our multimedia business within the next three years. The first of these strategy teams I was placed on was social media.

Here are a few of the trends that I will be reporting on:

Universal Identities: Having to remember passwords for multiple accounts can be frustrating, and answering the same questions over and over on registration forms becomes tedious. Ten years from now, filling out our information once and then easily transferring it from place to place might be commonplace.  For our home site, www.TBO.com, I can see us integrating this universal identity to be our commonplace login to replace the multiple logins we have for various elements of our site.

Aggregation of Social Media: In addition, pages will be developed to aggregate all the social media sites into one location, making the transition from one site to another more seamless. Leo Laporte, a broadcaster who runs the popular TWiT network of technology podcasts, calls the phenomenon “the social silo,” and he doesn’t think it can last much longer. “People are pouring all this content and value into individual sites,” says Laporte, “but they aren’t going to want to keep dealing with Facebook, and Twitter, and FriendFeed, and whatever is next.” Laporte and Owyang agree that in order for the social web to move forward, the separate ecosystems which make it up need to unite. Potential Aggregators include OpenID, Google Wave, Facebook Connect and more.

Company Social Media Czars/Directors: Social media czars that coordinate social media efforts across the organization within and beyond the marketing departments. I believe it is just a matter of time before most organizations either have dedicated roles like this or push their employees (or specially identified employees) to go through a social media boot camp of sorts. 

Marketing Towards Social Influence rather than CPM Models: There are several start-ups as well as established agencies that are already looking at marketing, brokering, measuring, etc. social influence, so you can expect to hear more about this topic soon. But don’t expect advertising spending to quickly embrace social influence – after all, the vast majority of ad budgets are spent by media buyers who still cleave to the tried and true reach and frequency, CPM models.

Social Media Like Air: In the future, social media is like air, integrated into everything you do.  One login, friends pulled in automatically.  Sites will search your social media networks automatically, and feed you content and advertising that specifically is oriented to your recent conversations.  In the future, TBO could be content driven based on each individual user, so that each person’s home page is different.    You will automatically see what TBO stories your network is viewing and commenting on.  TBO Mobile could be content driven based on geo-location.

However, the strongest points I came across in my research was this:

  1. Understand that social media is not a medium, but rather a new operating model
  2. There will be switching costs every 18 months and that companies will need to be willing to make some brand and community modifications as the services adapt and change.
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Entry filed under: Social Media.

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