2008 Social Media Trends to watch

The next 12 months are bound to be a fever pitch of accelerated use, innovation and change within the social media industry. Below of some of the trends in 2008 that I am most interested in.

  1. Vendor Change: one look at Techcrunch’s List of Social Media providers and you know that there will have to be change within this nascent industry in 2008. I expect we will see consolidation, attrition and some specialization within this list. For those that are selecting vendors; research carefully, find a proven solution and a solid organization with long-standing customers as well as a vision for the future. I look forward to the further strengthening of a few social media providers and the products they provide.
  2. Pervasive Communities: We are already starting to see the powerful new combination of social media technologies (micromedia, blogs, social networks, etc) to create pervasive conversations and communities that are immediate, impactful and ubiquitous. True pervasive conversations flow naturally from Twitter to blogs to Facebook to friend’s blog comments and back. The media and brands see the potential and will start to participate and create these conversations. As with the beginning of the web and early blogging efforts, brands in particular will experience protracted internal legal wrangling, horrible miss-steps with consumer back-lashes and also some wonderfully creative pervasive community uses that benefit consumers and marketers. I can’t wait!
  3. Olympic Globalization of Social Media: The impact of the 2008 Olympics cannot be overlooked. While the actual athlete’s ability to blog/twitter/podcast from the games is an open question it is an incredible opportunity for the networks to potentially capture even more ad revenue and for athletes to build fan bases. Even if not officially supported, it will be difficult to stop the live audience from broadcasting their thoughts and observations through Twitter and other means. A second impact that I am hoping for is for social media to expose more people to each other’s cultures at a more personal level. Overall, the Olympics will help to spread social media at an even greater pace.
  4. Social Devices: As the powerful combination and acceleration of both Moore and Metcalf’s laws make the economics of bringing social media to devices other than cell phones more necessary for both broadcast and reception. While the iPhone is a obvious, I think that devices like Ford/MS’s Sync, Nintendo Wii & DS and MS XBox 360 have huge potential that has only just begun to be tapped to make social media pervasive in our lives.
  5. Social Goes Serious: There is a looming convergence between powerful online office programs (Office Live and Google Docs for example), powerful SAAS enterprise apps (CRM and presentation sharing) and social media. Google’s OpenSocial is one glue that can potentially bind these powerful technologies, combining these applications into new and more powerful combinations. The combination of ever increasing powerful SAAS applications and open social networking APIs creates a playground with enormous potential.

What social media trends are you excited about in 2008? Please leave a comment and let me know.



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