Being willing to write down your thoughts of the future of social media takes a little bit of guts. You need to have an eye on the past trajectory and the future convergence of culture and technology. And it still has a little bit of the Wild West in it: Hard to tame. That can be a risk, if your readers happen to remember to follow up and check to see how close you were to being correct. Usually though, most people will have moved on to being concerned with predictions for the next year by the end of this one. So at least you get to have a little fun once a year, because you can say almost anything, call it a prediction, and get away with it.
I’ve gone through a hundred of this years predictions for social media and related fields, and I wanted to highlight some of the more interesting and some of the more probable ones. I thought I would see a theme for the year ahead, but very few were duplicated. Some of these are already coming to pass, as we see with what Google’s new Search Plus Your World has done for our first prediction below.
Prediction #2: SEO Without Social Media Will Become a Relic of the Past
It’s not just that social signals are making their way into the ranking algorithms (in both direct and indirect ways), but also that social is becoming the dominant method of both sharing and discovery for web users.
Prediction #4: Pinterest Will Break into the Mainstream
The last 4 years have seen Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare and Tumblr all break the 10+ million users mark. In 2012, I give Pinterest good odds for doing the same. Pinterest is also the first major social network where the gender balance heavily favors women (which is, IMO, a great thing).SEOmoz by randfish
Training and professional development initiatives have taken center stage, and the land grab is on.
McKinsey predicts that by 2018, the U.S. alone will face a 140,000 to 190,000-person shortage of professionals who have deep analytical skills, as well as a shortfall of 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to analyze big data to make effective decisions.
In 2012, data science will appear in job descriptions left and right, and will become the most in-demand skill set in the technology sector.
Although everyone understands the capabilities, NFC is still a solution waiting for a problem:
There will be a lot of good ideas put into practice in 2012, and there will be some spectacular failures, but in order for it to work there have to be failures. Before it will catch on someone has to find a use that works for consumers.
Social media ROI counts. While companies are getting better at tracking results from their social media initiatives, many still have zero social media ROI.Heidi Cohen
We’ve already seen the likes of Klout and Ad.ly develop business models around charging for influence. More recently, Starcom MediaVest Group, a subsidiary of Publicis, teamed up with ShareThis to pilot a new metric for ad buying that values content based on how often content is shared and how impactful those shares are. While 2012 won’t see traditional models like CPM and CPC advertising thrown out the window, look for new metrics to make a meaningful impact as sharing becomes central to more media companies.Mashable, Adam Ostrow
Social media fatigue. Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Google+, social TV apps, social photo apps, Pinterest. There are some great new plays out there, but the space has to shake out. There’s a lot of media out there, and only so many minutes in a day. The social media market is becoming oversaturated. How it will fragment and what will survive is what I’ll be watching.Rebecca Lieb – Altimeter Group, author of Content Marketing – @lieblink
And finally one that I’d really like to see come about:
Kristi, I couldn’t agree with you more. Yesterday I compared my Hootsuite dashboard and its Facebook News Stream with my Facebook profile and its New Feed. The results were astoundingly different.
I want to see what my friends are up to. And just because I haven’t contacted them within a week’s time, I have not lost interest in them. My feeling is that as Facebook news feed becomes more streamlined, it also becomes more boring, and less worth my time and energy. Unless this is changed I think we will see more of what I’m noticing already. People will continue to find other places to entertain themselves and stay in touch.Photo Credit: Island Guy Jonathan H.