2011 was the year that mobile made social media for real! Up until this year, there were a number of critics charging that social media was incapable of driving change. Their argument made sense as long as people were tethered to a computer, but now a huge number of people are interacting with their social network only through their phone. Whether it is from the bathroom, while grabbing dinner with friends or out protesting an injustice – you are able to get real-time updates about what matters to you wherever you are.
Egypt. Wisconsin. Wall Street. In these places, and many, many more locations, those outraged were communicating and organizing thanks to their smartphones. SMS continued to prove invaluable for driving action as many faced problems with the data connections on their phone (whether nefarious or from congestion) – highlighting the importance of including text messaging as part of any social media strategy.
It is difficult to imagine what new movements, technology and trends we will see in 2012. So we decided to give that challenge to our staff. See below for our staff 2012 predictions as well as their best of 2011 picks. Please also share yours with us by texting them to 738674 (REVMSG), tweeting them @revmsg or sharing them at facebook.com/revmsg.
Favorite App or Website of 2011
Alison: Twitter. Even though it has been around a while, this was the year that skeptics finally woke up and realized that Twitter can be a catalyzing force in social movements.
David: Angry Birds became available in the iOS App Store in 2009. Two years, 2 retails stores and huge merchandise sales later, the game’s anonymous protagonists have become the most popular marketable video game characters since Pac-Man or, possibly, Mario.
Doug: Favorite Site – Daring FireBall: John Gruber is fast becoming our generation’s Walt Mossberg, making clear the meaning behind tech headlines and dispatching wannabe pundits. Favorite App – HBO Go on iPad: Finally, HBO subscribers get the love the deserve with access to *all* HBO content on their device; Springpad: Simple, easy, cloud-based and multi-device-friendly task management.
Kayla: Storify. This new website allows both individuals and large news organizations to group together different social media posts, such as tweets, images, and Facebook updates, and create a story with added commentary.
Sam: I was initially a skeptic of Spotify, but thought I would try it out and have enjoyed every minute of my experience. Upgrading to a premium account is well worth the money when you are working from your laptop all day.
Scott: The parkmobile app. Even though it won’t completely prevent many of us from getting parking tickets, it makes it a lot easier to feed a meter (and it is great to see the DC Gov embracing the convenience of mobile technology)!
Walker: Not an app, per se, but node.js came into it’s own in 2011 and showed that it’s got power. Microsoft threw their corporate weight behind the project and now you can run node.js on Windows Azure servers.
Predictions for 2012
Alison: The Google+ Hangout feature will continue to catch on – organizers will initiate hangouts from their phones and will broadcast their hangouts on YouTube. These more personal interactions will propel movements forward.
Courtney:Campaigns will recognize and embrace mobile technology during the election season, particularly as a way to bridge traditional outreach (yard signs) with social media outreach.
David: #1 – Steve Jobs legacy will continue to bring Apple great success through the next year, though I don’t expect an iPhone 5. #2 – SOPA will soon rear its ugly head again.
Doug: The rise of social commerce. Checking in = Cash becomes increasingly common. See AMEX/FourSquare arrangement for a preview of this trend.
Jason: Twitter and Facebook were critical to the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement. The problem is that authorities are also using these tools to track protesters. Smaller, more agile messaging tools are springing up and could become big in 2012. No frills Vibe is being used by the Occupy movement to spread anonymous messages to limited areas (whisper, speak, shout, whistle, yell and bellow) for a period of time as short as 15 minutes. You can tell those people who are close to you about the action you’re going to take anonymously and not leave a trace.
Kayla: Customer Service through Twitter. This is already happening slowly, but in 2012 customers will expect it from businesses and organizations.
Keegan: The strength of social media also creates its greatest weakness – the ability to insulate yourself with information that is only friendly to your set of beliefs. While it is so much easier to communicate with those that are like-minded, 2012 will bring a new set of challenges to people trying to use social media for the purposes of persuasion. The GOP in particular will face a difficult time both keeping up the radical message they need to keep their base fired up online, and appealing to independent and moderate voters. They will lose the House of Representatives because of this.
Rich: More and more people will be using enough devices in their day-to-day that services/apps for syncing logins, stored data and history will become a virtual necessity. Though this isn’t a new concept, it will become more widely adopted as users get tired of logging into every single service. The patchwork of services that sync one thing or another merely adds to this complexity most of the time, giving users one more password to remember and type into a tiny onscreen keyboard or binding them to using one manufacturer’s technology. By the end of the year, any piece of data not accessible on every device in a user’s pocket or on their desk will seem as anachronistic as a carrier-pigeon.
Sam: Sports will be a driving force in mobile marketing for 2012. I think a deal will be made between app developers and NFL television networks to stream games live through
Scott: As celebrities control their own social media presence in greater numbers… these unique individuals with a passionate base will become more of a political force (Democrats and Republicans will be held accountable by these new social media armies).
In 2011 we watched as musicians went to Madison, Wisconsin and encouraged their fans to take action. Mainstream celebrities like Lady Gaga charged her 17,422,611 followers to get involved in LGBTQ rights. From Fat Mike to Miley Cyrus – artists are becoming more engaged and pushing their fans to make a difference.
Walker: 2012 will be the year of machine learning. We’ll expect more of all of our applications. They should always be learning what our personal preferences are, where we usually go, what we need and when we need it.