I did a quick interview with the Boston Business Journal earlier this week after the Celtics won their “Social Madness” competition for large social brands in the Boston area. The interview talks about the Celtics’ strategy on digital, social and video content.
Iâ€™ll spare you a plodding introduction. Prediction lists are quick and easy. Hereâ€™s 10 of them for 2013.
Google+ Rises â€“ Google, the company that made its fortune in search, will figure out that G+ isnâ€™t a social network, itâ€™s a content directory. Google+â€™s best chance at success lies in its bread and butter â€“ SEO â€“ by giving big brands, celebrities and other entities the opportunity to dictate organic search. Look for Google to start showcasing G+ content in organic search results. Itâ€™s already starting to happen; expect more of it in 2013.
Snapchat Gets More Buzz â€“ Snapchat, a messaging service seemingly inspired by Inspector Gadget with its self-destructing (sort of, but not really) messages, photos and videos, will go mainstream. Itâ€™s just starting to pick up buzz and the teenage demographic. Parents are no longer in the dark about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but how many know that their kids are on Snapchat? After all, teenagers are always looking for loopholes, so if you tell them they canâ€™t use Instagram, theyâ€™ll just go somewhere else. For now, Snapchat seems to be that destination.
MySpace never really takes off â€“ Tom may be sitting on his $580 million while you slave away hoping for another half day off, and Justin Timberlake may have signed on to be the new face of the old social network, but so far, thereâ€™s no evidence that every day users have interest in reclaiming their old space on the new Myspace. Iâ€™m not holding my breath. Besides, I always liked Friendster better back in the day.
Facebook and Twitter continue aggressive monetization push â€“ Facebook changes the rules of engagement on a weekly basis, and theyâ€™re guaranteed to continue to seek out more revenue channels. Now a billion users strong, Facebook has gotten very aggressive about monetization, looking to charge fan pages anywhere from $2-25,000 for millions guaranteed impressions from, get this, their own audience! In December 2010, I predicted in this space that Facebook would charge brands in 2011. Looks like I was ahead of the curve at the time. But it was inevitable. As for Twitter, look for them to follow suit, and look for more tweets from people you never followed popping up in your timeline.
Social Networks Continue to Sell Your Data and Content â€“ Most of us will continue to agree to the Terms of Service without thinking. But no worries, that picture you took of your lunch isnâ€™t valuable anyway. But your data, what you like, and your user behaviors are likely all up for grabs.
Here Come the Commercials â€“ With DVRs and On Demand neutralizing commercials on television, look for advertisers to seek out targeted video ad placements on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Social Media Gurus Go Out of Business â€“ As Corporate America continues to staff up to manage social media internally, it will continue to realize that the only thing many outside social media consultants are actually selling is unquantifiable â€œengagement,â€ not to mention their own books. Those who refuse to measure ROI (with ridiculous justifications like, â€œWhatâ€™s the ROI of your mother?â€) or generate tangible results will be out of business. I think weâ€™ll see more and more of the self-promoting, self-proclaimed â€œgurusâ€ running for the comforts of a steady paycheck with a full-time job in Corporate America.
Journalism Continues to Die â€“ As the gap that separates professional journalists from citizens narrows and the race to be first with a story intensifies, youâ€™ll see more shoddy reporting from professional news outlets. This trend is well underway, but as traditional media relies more upon gathering information from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, the quality of reporting will continue its steady erosion.
The Daily Deals Industry Finally Dies – Either Groupon, Living Social or both will go out of business this year. Thereâ€™s a million stories out there about Groupon â€œdealsâ€ putting restaurants out of business. It will finally come back to haunt them and the shoe will land on the other foot. Remember when they turned down a $6 billion dollar offer from Google? Who was dumber? Google for offering, or Groupon for turning it down?
1,000 More Bad Ideas Emerge â€“ Theyâ€™ll be easier to spot this year. Letâ€™s face it, for every Pinterest, thereâ€™s 40 startups out their trying to be Pinterest-meets-Tumblr-meets-Instagram. Trust me. Theyâ€™re all horrible ideas.
If you’ve got two hours on your hands (who doesn’t?) check out this panel discussion I did at the recent Futures of Entertainment conference, as we discussed the futures of storytelling and sports.
I wish every student who wants to work in digital media was a journalism major. Maybe I’m biased, but the basic rules of journalism are critical to anyone who’s going to be a digital media pro: spell names correctly, demand factual accuracy and verify your sources, and don’t plagiarize — this means you, bloggers! Those principles haven’t changed, but the distribution methods and technologies are evolving faster than ever. Journalism isn’t about how to write an article for a newspaper that’s nearly extinct. It’s about how to tell a relevant, balanced and accurate story. That’s a timeless idea, regardless of the medium.
Expertise in digital media, of course, evolves literally by the day. What’s true of today’s technology may not be true tomorrow. Facebook, Twitter, Google and friends change the rules and capabilities daily, all while constantly raising the stakes. It’s not practical to expect universities to keep their technology curriculum current without instructors who are actively living and breathing this stuff. Students are likely to learn more than they’d ever absorb in the confines of the classroom by interning with a start-up or tech company, or by simply digging in and immersing themselves on their own time.
Journalism school used to be the prerequisite for having the power to (mis)inform the masses. The advent of social media certainly decentralized the creation and distribution of information, but that democratization of influence comes at a heavy price. Forget the pen; the smartphone is now mightier than the sword, especially where it pertains to self-inflicted wounds. Companies and brands must be vigilant and selective when deciding who will brandish their digital media assets. A journalism degree, not to mention common sense, would be a logical baseline requirement.
I recently did an email Q&A with digital marketing guru Brian Solis about how the Boston Celtics tackle digital marketing and social media. The interview got plenty of circulation via Twitter, which speaks to the large audience and influence Mr. Solis has developed over the last few years, as well as the general interest in how a major sports property approaches the space.
I thought the piece turned out very well, and believe it’s worth a read for sports and digital marketing professionals alike.