In the past 12 months, social media is getting a renewed interest and is constantly changing. Instagram had a $1b acquisition, Facebook had its long awaited IPO (not very good one though), Pinterest became the fastest growing product ever and Quora has got a lot of interest. In this post, I will cover the 8 major trends in social media.
- Visual messaging – Initially social media was dominated by text in the form of blog posts,chat messages and later by tweets. However, images are the hip thing now. Instagram and Pinterest have shown that people are more engaged by visual messages than just plain text content. Google+, Twitter and now Facebook have seen the writing on the wall and have tweaked the news feeds to give images a greater prominence.
- Interest based networks – Myspace, LinkedIn and Facebook were ways to connect with people you know. These are your friends, colleagues and classmates. However, the new networks are now organized based on interests. Photographers, home improvement moms, bookworms are all being pampered with new networks customized for their needs. Read our earlier post on Interest Based Social Networks.
- Deeper integration with business tools – Social media is making further inroads into the business world. As Yammer’s (an enterprise tool similar to Twitter) acquisition by Microsoft indicated, businesses are more open to using the social media tools within the enterprise. File sharing, microblogging, employee profile networks, social CRM, social media based customer support are getting mainstream.
- Gamification - Foursquare showed how people can be addicted to badges and imaginary points. Various networks are exploring ways to gamify to keep their users engaged. Such ideas are also entering the eCommerce space now.
- Social funding - Social media is going beyond entertainment and is now acting also like a bank/investor. Crowd funding platforms such as Kickstarter are rewriting the rules of the investment world. Ordinary users can now invest small dollars in creating projects and startup companies with a lot less hassle.
- Social currency – Since eyeballs and social media shares directly correlate with sales leads, content creators explore new ways to get paid. One of them is “Pay with a tweet“, where you can pay for a book or a music audio by tweeting/posting on Facebook a promotional content set by the content creator.
- News personalization – News apps are getting more personal and media companies across the world – from the Washington Post to UK’s Guardian are actively tapping Facebook to deliver personalized news.
- Social media scores – Klout and PeerIndex have provided new ways for bragging about your social media involvement. Now, a lot of businesses and political organizations are using the social media scores to establish their reputation and credibility.