My hat is off to one incredible year for the social industry. I think if I had to sum up 2009 socially, it would be the year that Social came of age.
We have seen staggering results, plausible case studies, and some very smart people with passion and vision doing things that have never been done before and what’s more, they’ve all lived to tell the tale. But as we all know, coming of age means life lessons, experimenting, getting things wrong, set backs and acquiring a bunch of experiences that ultimately define you as an adult.
I think 2010 will see even faster growth, twice as many start ups as were seen in 2009, more tech solutions that simplify how we gather and process content thanks to the biggest mash up of all revealing itself in this coming year.
Looking forward to:
Seeing how authenticity will shape brands in this space beyond the social network profile. Will authenticity be something that we see threaded throughout business this year or will it remain confined to just the parts the consumer can touch? Everything from hiring socially to operating within collaborative spaces to bringing the social philosophy to call centers that utilize social tools to fulfill the needs of their customers long before the dreaded complaint.
Watching how the Peer to Peer relationship evolves to reshape how we do business and its effect on the workforce model taking it from a more structured corporate model to a flex-force, entrepreneurial model – a model that in itself will bring change to how we buy, sell, engage and search. It’s true, we have seen this to some degree already with affiliate programs, modern day barter systems and individuals forming strategic alliances but 2010 is likely to see this grow and take shape in more sophisticated ways.
Figuring out how we resolve ‘Free’. I thoroughly enjoyed Chris Anderson’s book. He provides a lot of great content and perspective. I also like the book because it was that book that led me to Douglas Rushkoff, who offers some smart insights on how we get past free.
Seeing the end of:
Get Social Quick Schemes. People don’t get rich quick and unfortunately they don’t get thin fast. Getting social quick is also a band-aid for something that requires a fruit salad. That’s right… the get social quick schemes that promise huge amounts of twitter followers are not the answer. A facebook fan page without fans is of no value. But the truth is, these executional fixes are more damaging to you… doing things right the first time are always in your best interest, and more often than not, will be more effective with your time and your money.
Quality being valued over quantity – There is a place where Quantity rules – the quantity of traffic to your site is directly proportional to that site’s revenues. But that’s not what I’m talking about. So what would you prefer, 1000 engaged and active users or 35,000 bots, spammers, and people making noise? In a space where authenticity rules, why are we so scared to be authentic? For those who aren’t comfortable or don’t know how to best engage this space – learn how to do it right or hire someone brilliant.
Haters being ignored! I firmly believe that your haters are one of your biggest opportunities in this space. Hear me out! Who cares if you tapped a fan club who pledge their love to you. Great! You’re fortunate and we’re pleased for you. But what about those people who are thoroughly annoyed by you?
Those people who tell anyone who will listen how crap your product, service or brand is. Imagine if you could sit down with these fine folk, have a candid conversation, objectively listen and come away with insights that will not only improve business, but if committed action is taken, will turn the hearts of your haters into some of your biggest brand fanatics. Hmmmm, this just gave me an idea….
A few resolutions!
We need to know what to call this space. Social Media, New Media, Digital, Social Media Marketing, Social Technology…? Social is the correct part of the title. Media? Not so much. But then I don’t think it’s New Media either… if it is, then what do we call New Media when it’s no longer new? And p.s. – it lost its newness about five years ago.
Rear view mirrors play an important role in our life. They keep us safe and they prevent us from doing things we’d only regret. It let’s us look behind ourselves to scan the environment and gather information in order to make informed decisions about our next step forward. In other words, looking back isn’t always a bad idea… and looking back in Social has been made ridiculously efficient by the lovely Peter Kim. Bookmark his wiki warehouse of Social case studies.
However the cards may fall, my prayer for you is that 2010 is your best year yet. So be balanced, be kind regardless of it being reciprocated and always be the first one to smile and say hello!
My sincere thanks to Shannon for sharing her thoughts on the year just passed and the year ahead, I think you’ll agree she says much of what we’re all thinking about (and feel free to leave your thoughts about the year ahead in the comments). I hope you’ll join me tomorrow when I offer up ten people doing amazing things.