As Peter Kim writes, "Community and collaboration are a wonderful thing." Pete took the initiative to wrangle 14 social media bloggers to give our predictions for 2009. He's summarized some of the top predictions in a blog post, and also published all of the predictions in a PDF that's available as a free download, on Scribd, or embedded below.
I've republished my social media predictions below, as well as a few new ones that I've thought about since my submission to Peter.
- Obama-maniacs will spawn a new age of activism. The millions of online-activated volunteers in the Obama campaign will find the drudgery of governing unappealing and abandon Obama's citizen government movement. Looking for new challenges, they will champion causes ranging from gay marriage to local school improvements. Non-profits will recognize the potential of bringing on these virtual community organizers, especially their ability to raise money in tiny increments in a down economy. So despite a raging recession, charitable giving will new numerous new — albeit smaller — sources of contributions
- Exclusivity trumps accessibility. Having thousands of friends becomes "so 2008" and defriending becomes the hot new trend, driven by overwhelming rivers of newsfeeds. The movement is rooted in a desire to have quality, not quantity, as people cocoon in the face of the economic crisis. Facebook apps will emulate Twitter Grader, allowing you to prioritize your friends based on their overall social ranking — and prune safely to ensure the highest quality friends.
- Facebook's SocialRank algorithms emerge to drive the open social Web. In much the same way that Google has PageRank to understand the relevancy of Web pages to your search, Facebook will debut a "SocialRank" algorithm which determines which of your friends are most relevant and important to the task at hand. Tapping the algorithm that already drives NewsFeed, Facebook will make SocialRank available on Facebook Platform applications and Friend Connect partners, drawing on the implicit data stream created in these other environments to prioritize the relationships that matter in that context. The result: Facebook will strike a significant advantage as the leader in the open social Web, thus "opening" up while maximizing the value of their proprietary network.
- Everyone becomes a marketer. As companies debate who should "own" community efforts within the organization — marketing, corporate communications, IT, etc — their front line workers will go about quietly, unobtrusively interacting with customers, partners, and other employees within their social networks. Examples like @comcastcares Frank Eliason or "Nuts About Southwest" blogger Gordon Guillory (who is a mechanical engineer) point to the democratization of social media within the enterprise. Companies will struggle with how to control who says what — but will increasingly realize that in an economic downturn, they need all the marketing muscle and leverage they can get and actively encourage.
- Shopping Goes Social. After a devastating holiday season, retailers will eagerly seek a way to improve results other than driving demand with deeper discounts. One option they will investigate will be how to insert people and social connections into the buying process, illuminating and influencing for the first time the Black Hole Of Consideration. As they lick their wounds in the first half of 2009, retailers will watch from the sidelines as media companies implement open social technologies like Facebook Connect and the Open Social Platform. But as the holiday season launches early after Labor Day, shoppers will find options to see what friends are recommending, buying and rating integrated into the shopping experience.
And two new ones for added measure:
- Implicit social and behavior data shapes ad targeting innovations, leading to "Personal CPMs". Targeting consumers based on their exhibited behavior — such as Tacoda's ability to show car ads to consumers if they've visited a car site within the past two weeks, will spawn a second cousin as personalization, social profiles and social graphs of relationships and influence become accessible. Marketers will not only be able to tell who is interested in cars, but also who has high engagement, and hopefully, high influence with people also interested in cars. Companies like 33Across are building technology to unlock the implicit data hidden in social interactions, while companies like Plista will tap into basic browsing behavior to personalize recommendations. The result: a new way to identify real time, implicit intent, which will be like manna for marketers already maxed out on search marketing. Each person's profile will command a different, personal CPM based on a trilogy of their behavior, influence, and market demand.
- The portal wars shift to openness. The traditional GYM portals (Google, Yahoo!, and MSN) will complete their shift from competing to be the end-all, be-all for consumers, to one-uping each other on who they can be more open than the others. Google will continue to flog its Open Platform but struggle for adoption against Facebook Connect's well packaged offering. Yahoo!'s Open Strategy (YOS) will make the experience great on Yahoo loyalists on Yahoo.com, but will suffer from acquisition distractions while attracting few new users to Yahoo!. And Microsoft will launch its new revamped Windows Live and online Office services and surprise everyone that the big bad Redmond giant plays as nicely as it does with third parties. The focus of the portal wars will, as it has always been, a battle to convince existing users to stay loyal to the portal site, and not stray or spend as much time on other portals. The turning point will be when users on one portal (e.g. Google) can forgo visiting another site (e.g. Yahoo's fantasy sports pages) because the openness has extended to so many parts of the sites.