Think Customers: The 1to1 Blog Topic: Social Media’s Natural Evolution by Jeremy Nedelka Social Media’s Natural Evolution In last week’s blog I presented analyst Barry Parr’s description of what Web 2.0 would look like in the near future. This week I offer my own opinion of what will shape Web 2.0 and social media far beyond next year. I could be completely wrong on every point, but I think connection speed, community development, and collaboration online are approaching their peak. Not to say that activity will drop off, but there’s a point where everyone who’s going to be online is there already. To me, the most exciting and promising new use of technology will be taking our online lives offline. The mobile and GPS technology already exists to create a device by which every individual could contribute to and benefit from the “collective consciousness” it could create. Think that sounds crazy? Just read the BusinessWeek article on Google’s cloud computing and you’ll see some of where I’m going. Already millions of people contribute to the wealth of information available online, but what I see developing is a more real-time collaboration. Some of this is already happening, sort of like a Wikipedia of the world around you. Oribtz asks travelers to report how long lines are at airports, information the company then combines and sends out as an alert to travelers. Radio and TV traffic reporters and weathermen ask for viewers’ and listeners’ eye-witness reports to verify their information. Job sites allow users who have worked at companies to comment on their salaries, office policies, interviewing practices; and sites like Ratemyprofessor.com let college students tell their peers which classes are hard, which professors are lax, and what to expect in a course. THAT is where Web 2.0 is heading, and ultimately how it will most impact our lives. Imagine the wealth of information available from one person. To make the fantasy more tangible, picture yourself with a wristwatch equipped with GPS, wi-fi, and voice-recognition. You wake up, look outside to check the weather and say “rainy,” which the device transfers to Weather.com You turn on the TV and say “watching Today Show,” which goes to Nielsen Ratings You stop for gas on the way to work and say “price $3.19,” sending the information to Gasbuddy.com You say “300 miles, 12 gallons,” and your MPG (along with car make/model) is sent to AutoTrader.com You get on the highway and the GPS tracks how fast you’re going, alerting Mapquest that traffic is jammed For lunch you visit a local deli and after the meal say “good prices, excellent service,” which is sent to Zagat After work you watch your kid’s soccer game, updating the score via the device so that relatives and other parents not in attendance can follow along on ESPN.com At night you go to see a movie, rating the popcorn at the theater and reviewing the movie afterward for IMDB Before bed you answer a weekly political poll from MSNBC (since it’s primary season) to be compiled for its morning news Right now, people who do these things have to be tethered to a computer (or certain smart phones). I predict that within 10 years it will be mainstream to share what appear to be mundane details of your life as they happen. Some people call it the Twitterization of society (usually in a negative connotation), or the combination of Internet and mobile technology, but I see it as the natural evolution of all the social tools available today. Feel free to disagree, or argue for another perspective. The great thing about predicting (and one of the reasons we write stories doing just that) is it helps create a dialogue. So what do you think?
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