5 Social Media Predictions

Along with the end of year and end of the decade lists appearing are the looking ahead lists predicting the technology we will be using. The latter is harder to write with any authority. Predicting the future is tough enough. redicting the tech future is tougher. We didn't really see where the Internet would go. No one predicted Facebook or Twitter.

So, the safer path is to predict things based on what appeared or started moving this year and project into next year. That seems to be the approach in this posting on Social Media Today that offers five social media predictions for 2010.

Will these have an impact in education?

1. Augmented Reality
2. Location-Based Applications
3. Enterprise Social Software
4. More Social Media Regulation
5. Social Search and the Search Metaphor Will Change

Augmented Reality (AR) allows you to place computer-generated information, such as text and labels, on top of live real world data, such as video from a smart phone. They point out that most AR applications this year were still "quaint curiosities designed to demonstrate the AR concept" but next year we will see use by corporations and institutions of higher learning. Realtime campus maps and guided tours? Verizon used AR in its Droid spots, but most people have no idea of what AR is or what it can do.

The prediction that location-based applications that got some buzz this year, like Foursquare and Brightkite will not be so hot in 2010 doesn't mean location-based apps will go away. Instead, they will be brought into social networks as features. An example is Twitter starting to roll out a geotagging feature.

Not very surprising as a prediction is that some of the big software providers (IBM, SAP, Oracle) will move into enterprise-grade social networking and Web 2.0 collaboration applications. They are almost late to the party, but clearly there is money to be made in these areas. Oracle already has Beehive and Microsoft is adding social features to SharePoint, but none of the "old software" companies has made a real splash in the social pool. All that has come from upstarts.

Did you know that the FTC announced updated Endorsement Guides this year which described in detail new requirements for bloggers and celebrities to disclose their relationships with sponsors? Does Serendipity35 have arrangements with companies to get products and services for review? I wish. A little “blogola” would be nice for the holidays!

Of course, the best defense is a good offense, so the "Web 2.0 marketing industry" has proposed their own codes of ethics. We can regulate ourselves. Outside the U.S., the EU Unfair Business Practices Directive technically banned "astroturfing" a while ago. (Word Watch: Astroturfing is the practice of a company or paid third-party representative posing as a consumer and leaving positive comments on a blog or forum).

Print journalists have been held to these kinds of ethical standards, so if bloggers want to be considered journalists, they should be held to the same standards.

Is it possible that in 2010 Google will not rule search? Joel Postman thinks that Google (he calls them "a Web 1.0 company — or Web 1.5 company at best") sees what is coming and that's why they they launched a Social Search experiment. Technorati is losing any dominance it may have had in the arena.

Who is stepping in? Microsoft’s Bing was a bigger hit than expected. Will Facebook or Twitter grab social search since they already have a lot of social data to mine? So far, they haven't taken the lead. I am guessing that we'll see new players appear with new ways of searching, and if they don't grab the space, they will at least point in the direction for someone else.

What might be the direction? You won't use a search tool. You will use search as part of a larger environment. Rather than adding social tools to a search engine, search will be added to social tools. Are you listening Facebook?

If the browser becomes the operating system (see Google Chrome), then your social tools, your search and all the rest will be there. Do you still go to the Google home page to search, or do you use the search bar in your browser? I can see activity on Facebook on my browser too. But browsers are definitely Web 1.0 (or Web .5). They started the Web, but are they still there in the future?

What is it we haven't even imagined that will bring it all together? One ring to rule them all. One unified theory so that it all makes sense.


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