10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2011

2011 will also be marked by new developments that will shape the very fabric of our behavior, culture and identity. These developments will challenge us to consider important questions about the future of our experience as connected people and consumers. Here are key trends to watch in the coming year:

1. Social media will be supersized

Guest author Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist at Ustrategy – a boutique consultancy specializing in helping companies excel in the socio-digital age. Ravit authors a blog at www.ravitlichtenberg.com and is on Twitter @ravit_ustrategy.

Following the success of various social media SaaS vendors and application providers, and fueled by ‘Apple envy,’ in 2011 we will see a surge of service providers bundling social networks, engagement widgets, video, mobile capabilities, cloud services and analytics, with their own unique services and proprietary capabilities. Ad agencies, for example, will offer bundles that include layers of creative strategy, campaign management and advertising deals all handled through a central dashboard; telecommunications companies will offer video tools for businesses and consumers with greater bandwidth, storage and syndication; learning management systems (LMS) integrators will add engagement, archiving, training and collaboration tools for a deeper and more engaging academic experience. By the end of the year, using today’s à la cart solutions will seem as efficient as buying a pocket knife with only a bottle opener in it.

2. Companies will integrate social feedback into their decision making process

In 2011 we will see a growing number of companies finally go beyond using social channels merely for building awareness and providing support. As “social thinkers,” these companies will use the social engine to inform strategic decisions, and execute on the organization”s objectives, marketing plans, product roadmaps and more. “It’s not just about technology, it’s about a fundamental shift into a new age of leadership with a new type of executives who behave and operate in new ways,” said Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com chairman and CEO. Expect to see a rise in companies who, by end of year, will be recognized for socially-informed innovation, customer focus and work environment, —much like Zappos and Amazon were a few years back.

3. Mobile will become our gateway to the world

2010 marked the year in which infrastructure, technology and design finally intersected in the mobile space. For the first time, sales of smartphones outpace sales of desktops and laptops, iPhone and iPad applications were downloaded more than 7 billion times and research shows e-mail access is now on the rise on the iPhone while declining on the computer.

With the foundation in place, in the coming year we will witness the scales tip: Mobile device users will interact with content, companies and the Web more on their phones and iPads than on their computers, and IT and service providers will create solutions that are defined by our mobile consumption and use behaviors. “The highway has been there but until now we needed a special car to get us to our destination, so the average pedestrian was not going to get there. Now that technology barriers have been lowered, mobile will become an extension of who we are,” said Philippe Suchet, CEO of MyShopanion, and the recipient of Web2.0’s Summit 2010 award for most innovative startup in the mobile shopping category.

From social shopping on the go, to easy paperless transactions and check-ins, to watching (and creating) videos with friends abroad, to in-class learning and collaboration, to managing our health real-time – prepare for an explosion of connected experiences across all points of interactions between people and people, people and companies, and people and information in the cloud.

Next page: 4. Video will be everywhere

Photo by LotusHead

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