The constant evolution of social media on the web as well as its impact on society in the real world never ceases to amaze. It becomes more and more clear as times goes by that we’re just beginning to really tap into the potential of the Internet to impact our daily lives. We saw many powerful examples of social media’s ability to connect us and enrich our understanding of the world in 2011. The coming year promises to be no different. Here are a few things we can expect from social media in 2012.
Google’s biggest fear is that Facebook will overtake them in the search engine arena. This is why they’re already placing more importance on Twitter hash tags and mentions as well as other social media references when ranking their pages. If you perform any sort of query nowadays on Google, you’ll notice that trending topics are more likely to be at the top than they were a few years back. Expect this trend to accelerate in 2012 as the major search engines use social media as a bigger indicator of relative importance.
Kiva made micro-lending famous, although its business model left much to be desired. The new trend in social media E-commerce will be micro-investing. While it’ll take a few years for that to actually happen, 2012 will see far more projects funded by millions of small donations. Kickstarter is a good example of the trend. Kickstarter allows entrepreneurs to propose a start-up project they’ll undertake if they receive enough funding. Supporters who like the idea can contribute money if they think it’s a worthwhile pursuit.
The Death of Tech Support
Customer support hotlines have been going out of style for awhile now, but 2012 should see them more or less disappear. For one thing, they were never popular to begin with. Furthermore, people with technical problems can go online and “crowd-source” a solution by going to public forums like Quora, Reddit, and a million other websites that specialize in helping users answer the questions of other users.
Corporate Social Media Spokesmen
Twitter has produced a number of social media celebrities already, and boosted the profiles of people like Ashton Kutcher who we’d have otherwise forgotten about a long time ago. We’ll probably see Twitter stars promote products and be paid by corporations to do so in 2012. A mention on Twitter by a famous celebrity or noted public figure can substantially boost web traffic to a site, and it’s only a matter of time before large companies figure out how to do it without being too obvious.
When we try to predict the future, we usually end up being wrong at least 50% of the time. Still, it’s fun to speculate on what the coming year holds for us as the current one winds to a close. Whatever happens in 2012, you can be fairly certain that social media will play a big part in shaping cultural phenomena in our everyday lives. Whether you’re checking out LED TV reviews online or just seeing what your friends are saying on Facebook, social media will become an ever greater part of the equation.
Guest Blog by Kathleen Hubert is a blogger who writes on a variety of different sites. Check out more of her work at LED TV reviews