My Social Media Predictions for 2012

I’m frequently asked my opinion on different issues relating to social media. While I don’t claim to be an expert, guru, or ninja, I am passionate about social media and have spent a lot of time learning and working in it. So instead of doing a retrospective on all of the top 10 best everythings of 2011, I thought I would offer what I predict the year 2012 will bring to the world of social media.

1. Facebook isn’t going anywhere.
This one is probably the most obvious so let’s get it out of the way right off the bat. Everyone will continue to complain about Facebook whether it be updates to it’s UI (that’s “user interface” for you non-techy folks), privacy concerns or infringement allegations. Regardless, the #1 social network will not see a decline in engagement, even if your Grandma doesn’t understand the new Timeline layout yet and you don’t like the new advertising in your news feed.

2. YouTube on your BoobTube.
I’ve been waiting for the explosion of YouTube for a while now and this step is just so obvious. While the video sharing site is already wildly popular, I believe a few key partnerships are necessary for YouTube to fully entrench themselves in our everyday life and in turn, reach a bigger demographic. By becoming available to everyone who owns a TV, YouTube becomes a go-to source for videos for the demographic who spends more time in front of their TV than computer (read: my parent’s generation and older) and becomes more wildly accessible for those who already use YouTube on their computers, smartphones and tablets.

3. The Social Network – Your television wants in.
This news is coming out all over CES right now and while I think this idea will begin to pick up in 2012. Bringing apps like YouTube and many others to our television experience allows the opportunity to not only study social behaviour and programming, but also to add communication and interaction to a ritual already ingrained in most households.

4. Explosion of D-list social networks.
This is already happening and I predict it will continue through 2012. With all of the new social networks like Quora, Path, Get Glue, Instagram, and Pinterest (to name a few) I’m sure I’m not the only one whose head is spinning.
2012 will decide which networks will have lasting power and popularity and gain B (or even A)-list status and which will fade into the abyss with all the rest.

Since Myspace has been kicked off the list of relevant social networks I predict that Myspace may also make an appearance back on the D-list with the announcement that they are partnering with Panasonic and developing a Myspace app for TV. Maybe it’s just my nostalgia for the important tool Myspace served for all musicians, fans and concert bookers or promoters, but I’d like to see Myspace take advantage of the rise of Social TV. The Myspace app for TV plans to focus on music at first, then expand to movies, news, and sports so that you can see what your social community is watching and make comments. And the other half of me thinks it’s too little too late…

5. Mobile-based networks are here.
One word: Instagram. I would have never predicted the growth of this mobile-based social network. I’m sure startups and app developers are scrambling to jump on the success of this mobile-based network and try to create their own so I’m looking forward to seeing some creativity in this sphere throughout the next year.

6. Location based everything.
I predicted this would explode last year so it’s my own wishful thinking that I’m including it on this year’s list. Not because I’m all about checking in on Foursquare, but I think there are so many cool uses for location-based apps. I read an article (would love to link to if I could remember where I read it) this summer about a theme park. I love the idea of Foursquare deals (which seem to be disappearing now). I refuse to believe this is going anywhere (probably for no good reason).

7. Apps on apps on apps.
When I saw the app to send Facebook updates from the grave I thought I had really seen it all. But there are apps to turn your phone or tablet into your converter, apps to measure the blood-alcohol level of your body, apps that arrange for a driver to pick you up and apps that recognize songs to tell you the name and artist. While the initial rush to build apps for iPhone and Android has peaked, I think we’re just starting to see some of the creative potential of applications.
On another note: did you know there are still apps for Tamagotchi Virtual Pets? Not that I would know or anything…

8. Celebrities invest in what is making money.
Now that social media and it’s high paid CEO’s are receiving a lot of attention, I expect we’ll see a lot more celebrity investment in social media companies and startups.
I’m still trying to understand how Justin Timberlake is going to bring Myspace back if the Panasonic partnership fails.

9. E-commerce wants your money.
Remember when I blogged about the Starbucks app that allows you to pay straight from your smartphone and the Payfirma app that allows merchants to accept payment from their phones? I was really excited about these apps and predict merchants will start to increase the innovative ways they can make more money through e-commerce, apps and smartphones. I think we’ll start to see the rise of businesses and stores participating in the social sphere as they (finally) recognize it as an important tool to garner more business.

Something that caught my eye this week was shoe retailer Aldo launched a Tumblr contest to bring attention to their brand and harness the power of fashion and shoe enthusiasts online.

10. Metrics: because some people won’t rest until ROI is a calculable thing.
My prediction here is kind of a cop out: I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m just predicting a big change up. While metrics tools already promise extensive keyword searching tools, sentiment recognition and other important metrics, there just has to be more. I’m looking forward to some increased measurement and monitoring but since I have no idea what’s even possible in this field I’m going to leave this one up to the pros!

I’m looking forward to seeing which of my predictions come true in the next year.

Think I’m way off? Have your own predictions? Please share!


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