Middle Eastern spin.
Social Media Will Become a Single, Cohesive Experience Embedded In Our Activities and Technologies: “While I do agree that “everything we do will be gathered and streamed together, allowing people to view their world of activities as if it were projected in front of them, open to change, review and input at any point in time from any device or online tool,” this applies only to those people that actually opt-in to multiple services that then aggregate that activity. Otherwise, as the majority who seem to confine their social media activities to Facebook, their activity will be aggregated and collectively streamed in totality based on the structure of the site. Facebook has recently defaulted to open this means that more and more people will be publicly sharing, and since Eric Schmidt doesn’t give a damn about people’s privacy, then the Google behemoth will also exert publication preference on people as well. We will be more open whether anyone asks us or not. The statement that, “Users will access content from any device or platform, co-create and mashup their photos, videos and text with traditional content while interacting with each other” is wishful thinking since the majority are not creators and remixers, but viewers and perhaps commenters. Social Media in the Middle East is even further behind in terms of the participation hierarchy, so interaction around mashups will just be inching into the region by the end of 2010 for early adopters.
Social Media Innovation Will No Longer Be Limited By Technology: 2009 saw the emergence of Twitter and the maturation of Facebook. Any business owner or marketeer would have to have dug a serious hole in the sand to avoid talk of social media marketing, new ways to listen to your customers, engaging with users, going to the where people are interacting rather than trying to attract them to corporate sits, extending the brand, etc. 2010 will be the time to “[turn] information to wisdom and insight to action.” If not a single new social media tool was developed in ‘10 we’d still do alright with keeping ourselves building social media competencies. If we use these tools 50% over the year then the online landscape for companies, brands and users will be remarkably different. In the region, we are behind. There is less online voice, the voice is fragmented, and the channels for the voice that does exist are technologically archaic. In the developed world, there is talk so people seriously need to listen. Here, the more and more ‘people’ make it clear that they are listening, (hopefully) the more people will talk – and use the channels that enable discussion and engagement (read: kill all forums).
Mobile Will Take Center Stage: Are you listening my Middle Eastern friends?! “IDC predicts the number of mobile web users will hit one billion by 2010. As the technological barriers come down, people will increasingly use their phones on-the-go to access social networks, search, read content and find location-based information.” Start building…!
Expect an Intense Battle As People and Companies Look To Own Their Own Content: “Instead, content relevance and quality will become the key focus.” Given that Demand Media, Associated Content and AOL and are all churning out huge amounts of content, quality will be an issue in 2010. These companies are selling content to other sites and trying to win the search battle putting relevant, long-tail content in front of users, and wrapping this content with relevant ads. it’s less about finding great content, and more about winning the battle to be best positioned to be found in that search, and then monetizing that discovery space. A new flight to quality could empower niche site owners. In this region we are content-poor. Any good, localized content is great content. A content factory like Demand Media could seriously disrupt the Arabic online world and take the online landscape forward and drive usage = opportunity!
Enterprises Will Shape the Next Generation of What We’ve Called “Social Media”: as much as your mom will have an iphone, social media will grow-up and companies will increasingly make it their own…bringing social media platforms into the enterprise and empowering companies to adopt social media tools to grow revenues. As the enterprise takes on social media do the young rebel from ‘the man’ and fragment into ‘underground’ social networks away from brandization? Watch for it…
ROI Will Be Measured — And It Will Matter
Finally: Real, Cool and Very Bizarre Online-Offline Integration
Many “Old” Skills Will Be Needed Again
Women Will Rule Social Media: Fine. I could wait, so I skipped ahead to this point. You didn’t hear it here first, but never ever forget: “Women make 75% of all buying decisions for the home, and 85% of all consumer purchases.” If you can combine #4 and #9 in a manner that brings eyeballs with quality content and leads to the growth of an affinity community for women that respects their unique needs and online behaviours…then let’s talk. The opportunity to cater to women in the Middle East online is an opportunity diverse and comprehensive. There will be many winners here, but very few players here. A year from now we will see some winners…will you be one of them?
Social Media Will Move Into New Domains
What’s the biggest trend in social media that will take hold in the Middle East in 2010?