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2012 should be a pivotal year for social media and human history. We’re reaching the peak of the bell curve and social media is getting closer to mass adoption. More human beings are starting to embrace the social web globally. This year started off with the promise of sCRM or better social CRM for brands, especially smaller brands. We’re not there yet but better software is being created every day.
In 2011 we also saw the birth of Google+, Google’s social layer not social network. The year is ending with a bang as we witness major redesigns on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook Timeline. Amidst the slew of redesigns, we also witnessed a ripple in the social fabric with version 2.0 of Path. Up until now, mobile had one kind of “feel” when it came to social apps. The user stream has always been a critical part of, “what did my friends just do and where?” With Path 2.0 we have seen the next level of UX design with an emphasis on mobile. Path 2.0 raises the bar for what users want from a mobile experience. Apple took a different tack with the mobile experience with the addition of SIRI. Now you don’t have to even type anything on your phone, you can just say it.
Technology continues to evolve rapidly in every facet of our lives. ATM’s rolled out 30 years ago, but now you can just take a photo of a check with your phone to deposit it. And smart appliances will be one of the fastest growing segments of technology. Imagine telling Siri to start preheating your oven to 350 degrees as you drive home.
Here’s the Bakas Media prognostications for social media in 2012:
+ The Social Media Revolt - Brian Solis raised this point with his new book, The End of Business As Usual. Over the past 3 years businesses have reluctantly adopted social media because they had to. But many businesses immediately focused on fluffing their followers and fans rather than focusing on quality interactions. Through various gimmicks like contests or promotions many brands built a faux following but still haven’t committed to true engagement. Did you know 90% of people who Like a brand on Facebook never go back to the page after liking it?
We’ll likely see a push back from consumers who may start unliking and unfollowing brands who provide no value to them.
+ Political Impact Takes on Different Feel From 2008 - President Obama harnessed the power of social media in 2008 and used it to win the election. In 2012 Obama will surely build upon his significant social footprint while the Republicans bicker over who’ll be their candidate. Once the Republicans get their candidate, Obama will have already created momentum with his massive email database, Facebook engagement and Twitter following. But unlike 2008, consumers and voters have more history to draw from. They are more savvy to the fact that Barrack wasn’t the one talking to them over the past 4 years on Twitter.
Social Media will still be a factor of course for data and polling, but it won’t have the same magic as four years ago. Back then Obama had clarity of message. His campaign wasn’t fighting for attention on social sites like he will this time around. Now, there’s many more brands also working to get the same mind share. Ultimately, the conversations leading up to the presidential election will mirror most political conversations that are too black and white. You either support this candidate or that candidate, and you can’t wait to tweet all sorts of venomous things about the other party.
This time around, social media may have its biggest impact tapping the important young voters and different racial groups. We’ve seen how social media impacted governments around the world, but here at home things can get too hot which becomes a turn off.
+ Mobile Commerce Will Emerge - Major shifts in human behavior, especially as they relate to technology take time to develop. Mobile commerce will be significant and it’ll be huge which is why it’ll take a while to happen. The groundswell for mobile commerce has been building for a couple of years but a few key factors have held it back.
First, the phones available on the market aren’t equipped to handle seamless mobile transactions. That’s where Square saw an opportunity and created a little adaptor to plug into iPhone headphone jacks. Second, privacy hasn’t been perfected. According the Forrester, consumers’ #1 fear of mobile commerce is that their private information could be compromised. Third, data has yet to be standardized. Our true forecast for mobile commerce to really reach mass adoption is 2014, but in 2012 it will emerge with a big foot forward.
+ The Convergence of Media - If you’ve watched any television this fall you may have noticed NBC, FOX and ABC are starting to put the hash tag to the show on the screen while you’re watching. While I watched The Biggest Loser and X-Factor this season, I noticed the faint tiny hash tag text in the lower right hand corner of my television. During the show people can go on Twitter and join in a conversation about the show using the hash tag. And X-Factor leveraged Twitter for voting throughout the season. Unfortunately, these ideas fell short because the television networks and shows still don’t get the concept of responding to people and having 2-way conversations. In 2012 I see an improvement in community management from shows on TV.
So there you have it. These are just my predictions for the coming year. At the end of 2011 I said Nimble would become a major player but that didn’t happen so who’s to say if any of the above visions will happen. What do you think?