What’s Coming over the Horizon?

What’s next in social media?

It’s a question that pops up on a regular basis as people and companies attempt to get a handle on their social media strategies and priorities.

The honest and obvious answer is “I’m not quite sure.” It could be location-based services, niche social media networks or curation. Or not.

The problem is no one really knows what’s on the horizon?

Who would have said in 2007 that a service that only let you use 140 characters or less would take the world by storm? Who would have predicted that a service for Ivy League university students would eventually have as many parents and grand-parents?

When people ask about the world beyond blogs, Twitter or Facebook, my smart-aleck answer is “If I knew the answer, I’d have a big chunk of a start-up”. It’s really only half tongue-in-cheek because anyone who’s into social media is always looking for the next new, shiny thing.

This explains why Foursquare captured the imagination of so many people when it appeared to be the new hot service. Or how Google Buzz got so much attention before fading into the background.

We live in fascinating times. It’s a fast-growing marketplace in which the rules are being written and re-written on a regular basis. If anyone tells you they know the next big thing in social media, you should either invest right away or recognize they probably have as much insight as you do.

  • Ron Mashate

    That being said, what are some of the emerging trends, aside from location and recommendation engines, that you see coming up in the next six to 12 months?

    I think there has been a lot of talk about “Social Business” and CRM and the developing technologies that are attempting both scale and integrate online conversations and community engagement into something like a new supply chain/workflow for companies. Interestingly, what’s happening on the infrastructure side with cloud computing platforms( where companies can economize/virtualize software and IT spend by scaling it as a service when needed) seems to be complimenting the social side, where adoption to new platforms is increasing the volume, complexity, and speed of new data. We now have what Clay Shirky called the “filter problem.” We have too much information.

    This is why curation/intelligent push notification apps, and I would even say social stream search, seem like solutions to social media clutter on the consumption/customer side. On the production/customer side I see a trend toward sharing media across platforms, though more contextual within one’s social graph or strong and weak ties, and also, a social graph that follows you everywhere online, a consistent social sign-on. The social layer.

    And then everything else seems like experimentation. Services (recent eg. 411.ca)freeing their data with API’s and allowing developers to create interesting social applications; mobile space and app proliferation glut, though eventually a streamlined, ubiquitous user interface and experience.

    But, alas, most of this is navel gazing, even though I would love to invest in industry IPOs that cater to this market trend. Would you happen to know any Mark?

  • I’ve often wondered this same question. What’s next. I don’t have the answer either, but one person I follow has some interesting ideas. Jeremiah Owyang has a blog post that talks about the future of the social web. It’s well worth a read.

  • Mark Evans


    Thanks for the link. I’ll give it a read.


  • Mark Evans


    One of the trends that I didn’t mention is content curation, which talks to Shirky’s “filter problem”. There is just so much content being created that consuming it is becoming increasingly difficult.

    Thanks for the comment.