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Top 10 Social Web Trends For The Decade

Posted on Wednesday, Dec 29th 2010

How do you achieve that delicate balance between the old and the new and find both depth and lightness – depth that moves at an emotional and spiritual level, lightness that moves us forward?

From Top 10 Tech Trends For The Decade:

Over 500 million people on Facebook indicates a massive shift in how consumers and businesses are viewing the social media movement. Perhaps underappreciated is the fact that everyone now is a brand. Even individuals with hundreds, if not thousands of “friends” are incessantly playing to an audience. Social games, mobile social, social apps, social news, crowd sourcing – all reinforce the trend. A tremendous amount time is being wasted on social networks, but at the same time, seriously productive and valuable work is also being done, leveraging the trend. All told, the social Web will drive the next decade’s evolution of the Internet. Personalization and privacy issues remain TBD.

Let’s take a look next at the Top 10 Social Web Trends For The Decade.

1. Facebook:

Facebook itself is a trend, no question. People seem to be living their lives on Facebook, posting way too much detail about trivial personal things on their Walls. The notion of privacy has gone out of the window, and I don’t like this at all. I have always felt there is a certain dignity about privacy, and this mass “sharing” of personal details makes a mockery out of that old-fashioned concept. Needless to say, this is leading to undesirable consequences, including people not being hired due to unappetizing stuff on their personal profiles.

2. Social News:

Every major media web site offers the most viewed, most emailed, and most blogged articles of the day – a way of using the social Web to gauge the most important (or at least the more popular) items. Various other similar mechanisms like Tweets, Facebook Likes, and other methods achieve similar end results. We are also fed news by our Facebook and Twitter networks. This is an interesting trend, although I would like to control better the primary sources from whom I like to get news referrals. At the moment, the flow is a bit too random.

3. Social Games:

Human beings like to be entertained, and they like to connect. Undeniable momentum that will continue to shape dollar flow and social behavior in the coming years.

4. Social Shopping:

Ever since Amazon used collaborative filtering to recommend books, music, and other products to their customers, retailers have looked for ways to recommend merchandise based on what other customers are doing on their sites. Now, however, the customers themselves are doing research and getting recommendations through various kinds of reviews and ratings sites, Twitter, Facebook, and so on. Again, for me, creating a well-organized, filtered recommendation panel would be important to gain full leverage out of this trend. Otherwise, the recommendations are far too random.

5. Specialized Professional Networks:

LinkedIn has become a place to see and to be seen, and a central repository of resumes. Recruiters are using the database to find candidates to hire. But the site is a bit generic, and I foresee that the professional networks will start to get more specialized as we go along. CIOs will have their own professional network, as will CFOs.

6. Specialized Social Networks:

And so will the social networks start to become specialized. We already have networks for little girls to play with dolls; there will be similarly effective networks for other activities. One on my wish list is a really well thought through social network for dancers. I’d like to be able to find dancers who dance the Argentine tango at a similar level as I do, and meet up with them at Alberto’s on Sunday at 8 p.m. Impossible to do with a generic social network as Facebook right now.

7. Enterprise Social Networks:

Enterprise knowledge has long been dissipated due to lack of mechanisms to harness and connect. Knowledge management, as a discipline, has not seen a lot of success in the pre-social media era. But today, the field is gaining ground, and we can hope to see enterprises shape up to become much better managers of expertise location and sharing.

8. Crowdsourced Business Functions:

People are raising money, providing customer support, validating ideas, doing market research, and who knows what else by using the social Web. Definitely a trend whose time has come, and come to stay.

9. Mobile Social:

And everybody is socializing from their mobile devices these days, so the ubiquity of the social web is unmistakable. Personally, this is another trend that I don’t like very much. It’s way too intrusive, way too obsessive, compulsive, and annoying. But it is here to stay, no question.

10. Diminishing In-Person Social Skills:

My friend Chaz gave an example of one of his students breaking up with his girlfriend with a text message. When asked, “Why on earth would you do that?” the boy replied, “Because it is easy.” Chaz observed, “Breaking up is not supposed to be easy.” The incident is common in today’s Web society. As a consequence, however, an entire generation is growing up without adequate in-person skills – like how to have a nice conversation around a dinner table, or how to seduce a girl on a date with a smile, a touch, or a look. Once again, my old-fashioned sensitivity says, we will terribly miss these lost art forms, as evolution further integrates the social Web into our lives.

As always, your perspectives are very welcome.

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Why did you save the most important trend for last??____Texting has truncated THOUGHT and shrunk peoples' brains.____It's scary!

Robert Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 4:30 AM PT

Indeed, Robert. 8 trillion texts will be sent in 2011. This trend will make us wish for the good old days when we were only suffering from ADD.

kevin stein Friday, September 23, 2011 at 2:41 PM PT

National Geographic has a cover story on the teenage brain which I am sure is changing – evolving – to work in this dreadful trend, so yes.

Sramana Mitra Friday, September 23, 2011 at 3:01 PM PT

Sramana, back in the 80s, my old-fashioned sensitivity lead me to say Information is more Important that Influence. Your observations here make me nostalgic!

Steven Stearns Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 3:59 AM PT

"As a consequence, however, an entire generation is growing up without adequate in-person skills – like how to have a nice conversation around a dinner table, or how to seduce a girl on a date with a smile, a touch, or a look." … Well said, Sramana

irina Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 10:27 AM PT

Awesome article! Information flow is everything, now we just need traffic lights to turn this into influence, in a relevant, meaningful and personalized way.

Jennie Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 1:41 PM PT

Great article, Sramana. I particularly appreciate your thoughts into the trends (vs just mentions of today's hot companies that so many journalists are wont to do.

Happy New Year,

Nimish Mehta Monday, January 3, 2011 at 3:49 AM PT

Thanks Nimish. Happy new year to you too! Sramana

sramana Monday, January 3, 2011 at 10:09 AM PT

Interesting observations Sramana. What are the monetization avenues you are noticing/foresee for trend #2-9?

ajs Monday, January 3, 2011 at 8:43 AM PT

I think the monetization model for social media is actually going to become subscription, not just advertising. But this is where the game will move into the territory of Web 3.0, which is going to be my next Top 10 post, so please stay tuned.

This is not to say that social media advertising will not be huge. It will. But I think, with well thought through value proposition for specific objectives, people will also be lured to subscribe to certain networks that serve specific verticals.

sramana Monday, January 3, 2011 at 2:15 PM PT

"Facebook itself is a trend, no question." I am not of a digital generation & would tend to want to agree with your comment but the economies of scale dictate otherwise. IMO it will evolve with
community offers.Local commerce deals on a national / international level is stone dropped without ripples 4 advertisers Facebook is the real deal Groupon model.

Jonathan Monday, January 10, 2011 at 3:48 AM PT

While the sills and frequency of in person, interpersonal communication are diminishing, at the same time inter personal communications are increasing. We now text multiple people a day rather than speak to perhaps two people in person. And if the in person skills diminish among the masses, isn't there an opportunity for those who have time to really develop the skill to use that to their advantage? Being friendly in public used to be normal. In the social age, will become a skill?

kirk Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 6:58 AM PT

Yes, possibly. Whichever way we look at it, the social web is having a profound impact on sociology for sure!

Sramana Mitra Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 11:10 AM PT

Great article! Will post on Facebook–couldn't help it. I just wonder if young people will need social skills. Will it be more important to say what you want to say in 140 characters, text quickly with your thumbs, and move from one technology to another? I hope that is not the trend, but you never know if our computers are the voice of the future. Maybe we need to start teaching them manners.

Nancy Miller Friday, July 8, 2011 at 7:37 PM PT

it’s an impatient, frivolous, crowded social set up we are living in. That is why we prefer to satisfy our primary senses digitally. A recent article read social networking has surpassed cyber porn, strange but true! I really liked your article.
But, how much of theory is practically implemented and actions being recorded, that is the ?

Amrit Wednesday, July 27, 2011 at 6:47 AM PT