A look back on 2009’s predictions

I’m currently compiling insights from a smart and select group on what we’ll likely see in 2011 for social businesses.

In the meantime, some excerpts from a list I compiled two years ago:

  • “Although it is now cheaper to launch an initiative leveraging Web 2.0 technology – it requires qualified and passionate people to make them successful.” – David Armano
  • “Doors are going to close all over the social web. Why? Because the money didn’t come the way people thought it would.” – Chris Brogan 
  • “We’re going to develop a set of better metrics to help guide, direct and validate ‘commitment’.” – Joseph Jaffe 
  • “The movement is rooted in a desire to have quality, not quantity, as people cocoon in the face of the economic crisis.” – Charlene Li 
  • “These will be cumulative events and interactions that will build brand loyalty for the companies that pay attention to them.” – Scott Monty  
  • “The recession will force revenue results out of social technologies.” – Jeremiah Owyang
  • “Suddenly, being Facebook friends with your mom will seem less ridiculous than following 4,000 strangers on Twitter.” – Greg Verdino  

With hindsight being 20/20, I find it useful to think about these in terms of what’s happened and what lessons remain to be learned.

To David’s point, I’m seeing companies scale by activating their masses. Social business success is no longer about having a single highly visible figurehead, but activating entire ecosystems of corporate representatives. Related, Scott’s statement wasn’t so much a prediction as an insight from the front line. The inconvenient truth about building a social business is that it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes months and years of hard work. Brands must stay focused and build credibility one conversation at a time.

Charlene’s point on quality is well received; brands now know to seek quality of relationships rather than virality of videos. Related, Greg’s insight foreshadowed the rise of the social graph and Facebook’s dominance in particular. Signal vs. noise matters.

A few of these were early and I think we’re seeing the results start to emerge. To Chris’s point, we haven’t seen many high profile shut-downs yet, but ownership transfers are happening quietly. Everyone’s thinking ROI and as Jeremiah predicted, we are seeing more clearly defined revenue models emerge from free services. But unfortunately to Joseph’s prediction, a common set of metrics still hasn’t been created – creating stagnation on the path to monetization for vendors and driving brands to define their own success metrics.

Keep an eye out for the 2011 version later this week…

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  1. The social web is by definition about us, individuals, and our connectedness. The chicken. Social business capitalizes on that – that’s the egg. If you’re interested in 2011 web predictions through the individual user’s lens, I wrote yesterday a post on web predictions from a user-centered prism http://www.icentered.com/web-trends-for-2011-from-a-user-centered-perspective.

    I believe the social web’s evolution is towards a point those two paradigms are culturally on the same page.
    I’ll be happy for your feedback

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