It’s time to roll out the pies, turkey and predictions for next year: 2010.
First, a look at my predictions from last year: Social Media will be a game-changer; Mobile products will shake things up; Search is changing; and computing will move to the cloud. If you are an early adopter, I did well. If you don’t have a smart phone and are active on social media sites, then this still sounds futuristic – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Social Media, Like it Or Not, Is Here to Grow
Social media sites are attracting more visitors for longer time periods than ever. The reason is simple: access to content and people who make a difference. People who provide ideas, who you can learn from and share your interests. Not my interests, your interests. Social media is all about you. And everyone else.
Companies are redirecting advertising dollars away from conventional sources and putting it into social media conversations. Many, like Ford and Comcast, are great at listening and responding, while other companies like Sears still need to better learn that you can’t just tell people what you want them to hear with no way to communicate back to you – especially when they have a problem.
Ford has put their money where their ideas are: Give Head of Social Media Scott Monty the ability to launch a new car, the Ford Fiesta with the FiestaMovement. According to a SocialMediaBiz interview with Monty, Ford gave 100 social media people the European version of the Fiesta for six months. The users post their (uncensored) feedback (text and video) at FiestaMovement.org. They already have more than 55,000 people interested in the car, which should be available in the US next year. Ninety-seven percent of these people do not drive Fords. And yes, not one-dollar of traditional advertising has been used.
It’s not just the big guys doing well: numerous small businesses are also growing their customer base through social media conversations. Early adopters will be trying different tools to retain the value they got from Twitter and Friendfeed. In other words, to expand their professional and personal networks, which can now be global and include some of the world’s most amazing people?
Social awareness and charity campaigns will continue to grow, as will recalls that have been pressured by Facebook and Twitter crowds. In a phrase, the democratization of the Internet will continue.
Mostly Cloudy Future with a Chance of Reign
Microsoft Office 2010, Google applications, including Google Wave – the real time, online collaboration platform share one thing in common: Most of your work may not reside on your computer. It will be in centralized computers, known as the “cloud.” This will leave your processing power able to do even more than it did before. On the other hand, your documents will reside where you may not be able to touch them, making backups even more important for every user, home and business alike.
Collaboration: The New Manufacturing
The evolution of cloud computing and collaboration will challenge the 1940’s education, business and management models that are still intact today. In short, the world is changing – we are empowered with near limitless information and the tools to share and implement knowledge.
Most notably, the collaboration factor will require people to learn a new type of sharing: situational management. Ideas and task segments will require the best people on a team or in a company to be part of a solution, not just the HIPPO (HIghest Paid People in the Office).
The Peter Druckers and Alvin Tofflers of the world have been trying to prepare business for this moment since the 1950’s. Now, the world’s information is at our fingertips and some individuals can leverage some knowledge better than others. For collaboration to become the new manufacturing, we must embrace the realities of today, manage the needed changes in education and leverage the benefits to innovate, produce, and deliver in ways never seen before. And we must do it better than anyone else.
It’s a Different, Portable, and Augmented Reality
They are not just phones anymore. They are connections to work, data, and fun. Smart phones are on the way to being the norm.
Devices like the Apple iPhone and Google Android have made it clear: They want you to be connected to the world of information in ways never seen before. Not just with applications that empower shopping, finding restaurants and sharing information, but adding new dimensions to work and play. The exciting part is with making new information available in ways that were rarely imagined through augmented reality. [Read my earlier article on augmented reality (or “AR”)].
In its simplest form, augmented reality provides visual overlays over “real” items to provide more information or possible options. These applications will continue to be added to phones to not just provide information to inform and help you make decisions, but to empower collaboration over distances and allow individuals a level of expression.
The innovations and cultural changes are starting to fit together like puzzle pieces, from portability to great promise – for those who take it.