Since everyone seems to be doing them I thought I’d give a shot at some predictions for 2010. No, I don’t carry a magic ball. And since I am primarily interested in the usage of technology, instead of the technology itself, I’ll try to stick to human behavior. No need to believe a word I say. I’m just thinking out loud here. I am curious as to what you think will happen in 2010.
1. The importance of the status message will devaluate
When your own mother starts setting status messages then you just know we’ve crossed the top of the hype curve. No seriously. I believe that in 2010 we will see a backlash of current Twitter and other status message services. These services will be occupied with SPAM and aggregation bots. Twitter traffic may go up, but activity will be mostly computer generated. Real people will leave the service alone as the SPAM pressure increases. Same thing holds for aggregation. It’s too difficult for me to interact/share/aggregate with the whole world. Instead, I expect to see highly localized and immersed communities appear with less people following each other but with more meaningful information exchange.
2. Social media will become business as usual
Let me tell you a little secret that most Social Media “Experts” are not telling you. Social Media isn’t “new”. Interaction, engagement, knowing your customer, getting into a conversation with him or her. The “need” for a social media strategy. It’s something successful businesses have always done, even way before the Internet existed. The terms themselves are meaningless, empty words. It’s not about words, it’s about your actions. The scale may have changed, and that provides everyone some challenges, but the act itself is as old as businesses are. Social media is the fad of 2009 and will be unmasked as such in 2010. Social media will become part of any marketing mix, but it will be questioned on its value just like any other tool.
3. Large social networks like Facebook will face severe privacy challenges and user outrage
Monetization and socializing just do not get along very well. Facebook has had its share of user outrage in 2009 and will continue to face more in 2010. Facebook setting sharing to public by default is evil. and goes against what the service was about when it first started. SPAM, Nigerian scam artists, Russian/Chinese hackers. They love Facebook and they will provide a continuous stream of privacy and security incidents. Users will get increasingly annoyed, and as a result of this public sharing will suffer. I believe we will see more of these incidents hitting the big social networks this year. I also feel that users will get increasingly annoyed with this.
4. Android will wipe away most competition in the Mobile OS space The tremendous growth of the iPhone will slow down and the handset will lose its main competitive advantage (the coolness factor)
It’s a battle between open and closed systems. Open will win, always. Android will flood the market in both cheap and expensive handsets. As a result, a good user experience and touch screens will be accessible for everyone. That takes away part of the coolness factor of the iPhone. Even though it’s user experience is still unmatched I believe the tremendous growth of the iPhone will slow down. People don’t need great, they will settle for good enough. And when Android flies, it’s development ecology will grow too. Pretty soon you will be able to get the apps you can get on the iPhone on Android too, and that takes away another reason for having an iPhone. Apple will continue to make lots of money on it but it will not dominate the mobile market with the iPhone. It will be Google and Android that will dominate big time.
5. Mobile startups will draw lots of investments but will face distribution and monetization challenges, just like startups on the Internet face(d) them
2010 will show incredible growth in Mobile. There are more devices, more users, mobile access of online services will sky-rocket. And so investments will be drawn towards mobile startups. Location, location, location. the new buzz word. Location based advertisement seems to be the new gold. Services like Foursquare, or augmented reality are the new growth areas. But with growth challenges regarding user value will come too. Looking through a camera to see an augmented reality is fun, but feels a bit silly too. That is something that needs to be addressed, otherwise people will stop looking at alternative realities through their mobile camera. A big UE/UI challenge in my opinion.
And then there is the monetization issue. I somehow doubt that end-users will appreciate a lot of commercial information to be presented to their mobile phones. A mobile device is by its very nature personal property. Location based advertisement will certainly grow, but will face severe SPAM and user annoyance challenges. The only advertisement solution that has ever been really effective is search. If I want commercial information or a transaction, then I will be looking for it. If it gets pushed to my mobile device, I might not (always) like that very much.
If a service like Foursquare can get past the play (I’m spamming my friends to tell them I’m the major of some dorky location) then it might be a good way for businesses to connect to consumers and vice versa. Otherwise it is bound to end up as dead as the community that will start abusing it for personal broadcasting purposes.
The mobile space does have a huge advantage over the web. People are used to paying for services there. There are (micro) payment solutions available, so the conditions are available to monetize services and content. The iPhone app store proves that people are willing to pay for value, so I can only hope that that business model will dominate the mobile space.
So what do you think? Any of this make sense? Or do you think something completely different will happen? Let me know 🙂