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2010 Social Media Trends

The end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011. How nice. A new year always bring a slew of prediction and trend posts, so we had to jump in. We particularly enjoy looking at previous "predictions" to see what actually happened.

Here's what we predicted for 2010 and the outcome as of the end of the year:

1. Myspace will die. Like bed bugs, Myspace is hard to eliminate. The site has been rebranded as "My___"—dumb branding that's in the same league with the Gap's short-lived new logo. Myspace is still being abused by bands and musicians, comedians, C-list actors, "models," and other celebrity wannabes, as well as by people who didn't get the memo that Myspace is dead. I wouldn't be surprised if Myspace limped quietly through 2011 and finally expired and died. In order to survive, Myspace needs to create something truly new, engaging, user-friendly, and groundbreaking, but I don't think it will happen. Facebook has taken over the space like the 800-pounds gorilla it is. We haven't even talk about Twitter yet. have we? :)

2. Virtual goods: insanely popular. This. Is. Huge. Bigger now than a year ago. You're making a mistake if you think virtual goods are nothing more than "playing games." A 2009 report from Inside Network put revenue from the sale of virtual goods in online games at $1 billion. Their prediction is that the U.S.virtual goods market will reach $2.1 billion in 2011. Even if you don't understand why people adopt and purchase virtual goods, those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

3. Gaming: not just for kids. This trend is still heading up, up, up. You're missing the boat if you think casual and social game-playing is a passing fad. According to a study by market researcher NPD Group, 56.8 million U.S.consumers have reported playing a game on a social network.That's 20 percent of the U.S.population.In their report, "The Future of Social Gaming 2011," Inside Network predicts the social gaming market will reach $1.25 billion. Would you want a slice of that?

4. Twitter: transforming communications. Yes, still doing it. At the same time, Facebook is transforming the way we view privacy, and what, how, and how much personal information we share. Watch out for Twitter this year.

5. Niche networks: Good for marketing. I'm still convinced that niche networks are valuable for smaller, more concentrated, and highly targeted numbers. Get beyond the giddiness of having hundreds or thousands of "likers" on your Facebook Page, and you can create real value for your company, customers, vendors, or targeted consumers by using niche networks. Industry-specific social networks are good for professional networking and information exchange, while open, relevantly themed social networks are helpful for marketing, branding, and customer interactions.

Despite Ning no longer offering free networks, I find that many niche, topic-specific custom networks are still being built on the Ning platform. But your own niche network is a beast to build and manage without resources. That's why Facebook Pages are the low-hanging fruit of niche, branded communities.

6. Augmented reality: Really here. Yes, it is here, but still on the fringe. I think 2011 will see mobile devices more capable of supporting AR, programmers developing useful AR applications, and marketers testing the field. AR will become more widespread, and really great and useful applications will proliferate. The next step will be to get consumers on board. Would you use AR? Would you pay for something that can boost your AR experience? Something to think about in the future.

7. Google Buzz: hmmm. I thought Google Buzz would be big and important, because Google is big. Google Buzz is still out there, but I don't see much buzz about it, and I barely use or notice it myself. Do you have any interesting uses for Google Buzz? Conclusion? Going..gone.

8. Mobile: Be there. That's what I'm still saying. I've outlined a few things to consider about mobile in a recent post. And don't think just about devices, apps, and networks, but also about communications and commerce.