Future Thinking: Observations vs Predictions
for Entrepreneurs, Startups & NGOs

Future Thinking - One World, One Web (?)

Illustration Above: One World, One Web. Original image created and licensed under creative commons by Paul Downey

Months ago, following the presentation I delivered at The National Student Entreprise Conference, I published a blog post.

The post’s footer contained some of my thinking in regards to likely 2010 Industry Trends, Challenges and Insights – these have been freely available online to the conference attendees and anyone who might have stumbled across them since March.

Given a host of recent announcements from Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Google and BumpTop, today (3rd May 2010) I feel compelled to post them separately, in their own right – I hope they might provide food for Social-Web thought ‘-)

My list of Industry Trends:

  1. Crowd sourcing ideas/products (E.g. ChatRoulette’s remove perverts prize, and services like Groupon)
  2. Social Media Policy (E.g. Policy Guidance & PolicyEspresso)
  3. Geo-location & Augmented reality (mapping data in locational context – QR & RFID tags vs Gowalla and Foursquare – earn points/prizes through loyalty interactions)
  4. New scaling/working models: co-working, participation and freelance collaboration
  5. Recommendation Engines and ROI Measurement (collecting, analyzing and measuring data, conversation, networks, purchases etc)
  6. Real-time (including mobile video/content streaming and data search)
  7. Mobile Payment Systems (square, PayPal, Bump and NFC’s N-Mark)
  8. Open Data – government and service APIs

    {*My prediction and tipped field to watch*}
    Multi-dimensional narrative (authenticity, story-telling and play within/across conversation, Facebook Games, Online Marketing and iPad Apps – including new ‘add value’ dimensions to publishing, promotion and engagement – this is where my long-term money is on services like Gowalla over the likes of Foursquare, in my mind they have two very different social narrative values)

My list of Industry/User Challenges:

  1. Up-to-speed Education (online identity, ethics,tools) – Related topics: Chat Roulette, OpenID, OAuth & TwitterAuth to reduce identity phishing scams and spam, services like SocialSentry now offer businesses the ability to track employees via social networks and conversations on twitter/Facebook/etc.
  2. Proprietary/Open-Source, Monetization & Measurement (Subscriptions/Freemium/Advertising/Free)
  3. Accessibility & Compatibility for multiple devices and navigation types (muti-touch vs browser, desktop vs mobile, Surface vs iPad etc. – including the evolution towards gesture based interaction like Jonny Lee’s genius, SeaDragon and technologies like Canesta – expect to see interface evolve towards more physical interactions like BumpTop and SixthSense)
  4. Law & Legislation – Related topics: Digital Economy Bill, Google in China, Social Media Policy and Facebook T&Cs
  5. Understanding transparency vs engagement – we don’t consume, we filter and question (government, business, advertising) – large businesses need to find/develop passionate and inspiring staff, entrepreneurs should be naturals!
  6. Data-legacy & Sustainable Hosting (Eg. dead short-url links, backup and http://deathbook.info)
  7. Data Publishing & Distribution – Related Topics: Publishing Industry vs Apple/Google/Facebook… iPad – Flash vs HTML5 video…


My Summary/Insights:

  1. Traditional marketing is not a ‘social’ activity so don’t apply its mindset to Social Media or Social Networks – Related topics: Top down vs bottom up, one directional vs multi-directional, multi-channel multi-media/um)
  2. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all very different – please recognize/realize this!
  3. If you’re starting a website I suggest ‘self-hosting it for a minimal fee’ and host its content where possible (but make sure its shareable and embeddable elsewhere) and build in measurement tools (I recommend WordPress and Google Analytics – then SEO and Google Adwords can come later – at least build the foundations with a sensible database format like MySQL/XML)
  4. Social Media is the playground of Individuals, agile business’s and entrepreneurs
  5. Social Media’s real strength is in its possibilities, ideas and connections to inspiring minds and challenging opinions
  6. If you choose to use Social Media then be prepared to participate (build identity/trust/respect/transparency/connections through participation in conversations and inspiring/useful/unique content) – listen and learn, apply the 2 ears 1 mouth philosophy of a BarCamp – be prepared for criticism and address it, don’t brush it under the carpet – focus on quality not quantity, long ‘unique’ blog posts are worth much more to your community than short posts of information they can already find elsewhere ‘don’t create noise, create gems!’ – build your content into a story, narrative is often engaging if it has a plot!
  7. Please be aware that 3rd party services can and will change their business models – I personally believe services like Twitter will start charging businesses and providing limited data (API) access to individuals very soon (its likely other services will start advertising in your content feed), don’t put all your eggs in one basket in terms of YouTube for video, check great services like Viddler.com (its equipped with widgets and analytics) and be aware of using short url services (bit.ly is my current preference but even I’ve got a long list of improvements to make to my blog)
  8. Social Media Communication is not a replacement for traditional marketing, attending events or real-world face-to-face meetups or conversations over coffee/beer, it is simply a supporting channel – get out and meet people! put your twitter address on your business card and use #hashtags! > when social online meets social offline true value is realized (both ROI and SROI FTW!) see > Twestival.org, Tuttle.101 and many more!

I recommend investigating the following resources – click the links below:

http://informationarchitects.jp
Do you have a Facebook?
BBCs Virtual Revolution series (you should find all 4 episodes on YouTube)
TED Video on Creative Commons
Online Ethics and Digital Legacy
The UK Digital Economy Bill
Entrepreneurship Advice from the founders of Air B&B (4 episodes in total)
The future of Game & Play
(watch the embeded video!)
Seth Godin’s post entitled ‘The Ubiquity of Competition’
(check all his blog content!)

This is a better introduction to me >my @fellowcreative padawan blog-post<

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