Aspiring and established social media-lites alike gathered at California State University Sacramento’s Modoc Hall Tuesday night for Social Media Club Sacramento’s 2013 kick-off event.
A panel-style workshop, “New Year, New Predictions,” predicted the social mediascape and shaped personal and business social strategies for the upcoming year.
The speakers, a who’s who of local social media professionals, included:
Scott Eggert, Co-Founder of ClickSpring @ScottDEggert
Alicia Allen, Social Media Manager, 3Fold Communications @AliciaToday
Tony Gates, Owner of Tony Gates Consulting @TonyGates44
Julie Gallaher, Owner of Get on the Map Local Search Marketing @JulieGallaher
Panelists alternated spotlighting social platforms, recalling major milestones and giving their personal predictions about what’s in store for each.
“Social media has proven to be more than just a trend, and we’re going to continue to see it evolve and escalate," Allen said. "If you don’t stay in the know, you’ll fall behind and miss valuable opportunities."
The panel collectively exuded a message of excitement about upcoming social network development and opportunities.
“It was good to get a sense of what to expect this upcoming year and [learn] what platforms are developing new mechanisms of engagement for their users,” said Rich Beckermeyer, a workshop attendee and social media professional.
A roundup of highlights from the panel’s predictions are below.
Facebook, as forecasted by Tony Gates
- Mobile is the future: Users will eventually be able to do more on their phones and other devices than on their computers, with apps being integrated into more mobile devices and systems.
- Timeline: Facebook will undergo yet another (and another) makeover, likely reverting back to the one-column timeline.
- Graph Search: The much-talked about search feature will become more and more invasive, even going so far as ousting incriminating pages fans have “liked” in the past to friends.
- Facebook A.I.: Users will be able to “train” their Facebook pages , similar to how Siri works with Apple devices.
- Newsfeed: Feeds will become more like “digital newspapers,” feeding us personalized information from and about our network.
- Friendly prompts: Status prompts currently used by Facebook (i.e. “How is your day?”) will become personalized, asking specific questions about your activity and/or location (i.e. “How was sushi at Mikuni?”)
- Monetization: Following Starbucks’ example, mega-brands brands like Gucci and other retailers will offer social gifting.
Twitter and Vine, as predicted by Alicia Allen
- Mobile: Both platforms will continue to optimize their apps for mobile and numbers of users tweeting from mobile devices will continue to climb.
- News-gathering: Short videos from mobile, like the six-second videos created through Vine, will be used to report news.
- Healthcare: The industry will use social care (real-time customer service through use of social media) to make healthcare more accessible.
- Personalization: Tweets are headed the same direction as Facebook and will likely implement an algorithm similar to EdgeRank.
Pinterest, as predicted by Julie Gallaher
- Growth: By the end of the year, more than half of Sacramento women will be on Pinterest (the network is seemingly favored by women).
- Value: The social Return on Investment (ROI) of a pin will triple, making the platform even more valuable.
Google+, as predicted by Scott Eggert
- Social Graph: Google will continue building its own “social graph” by connecting who you know through various Google platforms (YouTube, GMail, etc.).
- Google apps: Google+ will continue to expand and produce new apps similar to (but more successful than) its Snapseed app.
- App development: Although there is no video or photo app that currently shares directly to Google+, app developers will come up with something this year.
- Third party developers will finally build apps that play nicely with one another and, with any luck, will produce one “killer” app for photos and videos that share seamlessly.
As the panel presentation came to a close, audience members up their own questions about where the “socialsphere” is headed. Topics included uncertainties about the “new” MySpace, the value of Facebook ads, how much a businesses should budget for social media, and a brief analysis of tools available to measure social success.
While the future of social media may be largely unknown, one sentiment echoed throughout the night is certain.
Whether it’s used for business or pleasure, social media has something to offer everyone and has never been more accessible.
Allen encourages all to partake. “There are so many resources out there these days that staying updated on social media trends is easier than ever…dive in!”
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