Social media is now everywhere. This will be the year that we no longer separate media and social media when it comes to media, marketing, PR and communications, or sales. Social media in now a tool like any other – one in a toolbox. Professionals who manage the aforementioned silos will need social media knowledge to perform their duties. Will 2012 be the end of the social media “specialist” or expert?
Curation and Social Search
Too much information? Hardly! Sifting, measuring and presenting this information in an understandable format to a given audience is now key. Curation tools that allow us to do this easily are on the rise. Some examples: Storify; Summify (a Vancouver-based company); Paper.li (one of the oldest and Twitter-specific); Zite; Shareist (still in private, invite-only beta); Twyla; Amplify; Kurat. The entry of Google Plus to the scene will advance social searches to the next level. Search results, increasingly, will be dependent on your social graph and that of your friends. One interesting alternative tool (based in Montréal) is Wajam, a social search extension for your browser.
As networks like Twitter and Facebook welcome more and more users, increasingly people are pushing back, looking to make their experience more manageable. Niche networks based on interest are one way of doing this. A great example is Ravelry - a site for knitters/crocheters/spinners. This year saw the arrival of Pinterest (of special interest to people in design/fashion, although not limited to this demographic). SmugMug is for photographers. See also Subjot (combines your social graph with your interest graph), Heello and Ayloo (where it’s all about the conversation).
Using online to get offline and build community – the social web as the means to an end destination. A way to find people and take the relationships offline. In Victoria alone, groups like IdeasVictoria, the spoken word events (Tongues of Fire and Victoria Slam Team) as well as Green Drinks would be great examples of tribe building. There are many more – at times it’s hard to tell which came first – online or offline, but in any case, the opportunities to be social offline are growing, across all demographics of people using the social web.
There’s an app for that! More than ever before, it is crucial that information be mobile-friendly, whether this means that a website be built to load quickly and display properly, or that the information be contained in an app. The Victoria International Fringe Festival has had a schedule/program app since 2010, for example.