Here is the unedited version of my contribution, put together at a rather short notice :). Please do share your feedback and thoughts.
Ten years ago there was nothing called social media. There was no Facebook, no Twitter. What will happen to this medium 10 years from now is very very difficult to say. I can talk about a 2-3 year window.
Today social media has become a part of our lives. People are spending a significant amount of their online time on social networking. We are sharing far more information about ourselves than we would earlier. The youth is increasingly exhibitionist about their possessions, and, relationships- actions need to be flaunted; online games have taken over physical games.
What social media is doing to the marketplace is that it is changing the whole concept of customer relationship where a comment from one could impact many others, but is also allowing marketers to create more customized offerings by engaging customers and evangelists. Also organisations are becoming more collaborative and many stakeholders can engage with each other.
The role of mobile is becoming increasingly important because in a country like India it is proving to be the ubiquitous device that people carry and a lot of social media consumption is expected to move from the computers to the mobile device.
The concept of social media in the next two to three years is going to see a shift from simply text, audio, video consumption led to more application, gaming and e-commerce. The term social which is what distinguishes it from mainstream, at some point in time might become irrelevant because all media in a sense has/will become social. Mainstream media is looking at ways to get people onboard and that’s the movement we will see in the next two to three years. A lot of mainstream media is already adopting the tools, but they’re not social in the true sense of allowing participation from their ‘consumers/readers’ as they possibly could.
You will see businesses, not just b2C marketers, using social media, but enterprise users starting to use social media. That is the natural extension .There is a communication theory of ‘familiar is favourable.’ This leads to adoption. As people become familiar with how to use technology for their personal use, a lot of that adoption is going to happen within the organisations.
In some sense the ‘pure’ social media we dreamt is not going to remain so pure. We’re seeing organisations scale up social media and in process some of the purest tenets of social media are getting left behind.
From engagement being the key metric, social media will become more traditional, where leads and conversions will become important, ROI will be a priority.
On the monetisation side, large social networks are seriously working towards it. They have become far more aggressive in terms of reaching out to their partners, for advertisements or promotions or creating opportunities for monetisation. E-commerce is expected to take off.
Over the next two years, we’re going to see monetisation. We’re already seeing movement in that direction. Companies like Facebook are talking about exceeding billion dollar revenues, gaming company Zynga, which has created social games like Farmville, did USD 835 million revenue this year. This is serious money we’re talking.
The day of the casual blogger is gone. If you’re in social media for business, there is a reason why you are there. And there are a lot of people who’ve invested a lot of time, energy and money. Micro publishing networks have emerged and are growing too. Monetisation is happening there.
Developmental work on social networks in form of applications and games is increasing and there is reduced emphasis is put on text and conversations. Emphasis on advertising will be more as businesses scale up their presence.
Next three years will see social media growth and monetisation, but somewhere we might see the purity of the medium shrink – evolution.
Disclaimer: Views of authors are personal and do not represent the views of Blogworks, or any of its clients.