My first set of predictions were 5 year predictions that I saw happening over the next 5 years. These were, in my view at the time, the far riskier predictions and were so radically different from where the market was at the time that I thought they would take 5 years to materialize.
The second set of predictions were off the top of my head with very little thought or evidence behind them and probably based more on my personal biases than off much fact. In fact I even went as far to say “[these predictions are] a little more like playing fantasy football. I’m really just guessing.”
So let’s see how I did.
Top 5 Predictions for the Next 5 Years in Business Social Media
1. The Recovery Will Accelerate Social Media Investments. = WIN +1
- Like I pointed out in my predictions this wouldn’t be a year of full recovery but it would start it’s forward progress and social media would lead the marketing charge.
2. Marketing Communications Consolidation. = WIN +1
- This is one of those predictions that will take the full 5 years to pan out but we’re already seeing movement in this direction and I believe that as digital converges so will marketing/communications.
3. Agency Acquisitions. = WIN +1
- 2010 proved a huge year for this, especially when it comes to marketing measurement. This was a huge year for agencies acquiring technology based agencies and I don’t think it’s over.
4. Enterprise IT and Social Media become BFF. = WIN +1
- BFF may be a stretch but we’ve seen Enterprise IT adopt social media faster than ever before and they are betting heavy again on 2011.
5. Intranets integrating with external social networking. = WIN +1
- With industry behemoths like Microsoft integrating social updates from Facebook and Twitter into everything from SharePoint and Outlook I think this is a safe declaration of victory. But this is just the tip of the iceberg and some predict a backlash but I think that Pandora’s box is open and we’re only going to see more of this.
So far I’m feeling pretty good about these predictions but I put a lot of thought into these and purposefully took a 1-5 year view of these and the only surprise is how much progress has been made in the first year but I still believe that there is a lot more ground that needs to me made in these areas, especially points 2, 4 & 5.
But predicting trends is easier for me. It’s part of my job. Predicting very specific outcomes is much harder and riskier and people who do this for a living, like analysts, have records worse than weatherman. Let’s see how well I did on my less scientific predictions.
Top 10 2010 Social Media Predictions
1. Facebook goes public at the end of the year. = FAIL – 0
- Remember in 2009 of last year Facebook was just barely showing signs of profitability but I so badly want Facebook to go public because I believe it will create a wave of public offerings from other startups which will finally give VC funded startups another option besides acquisition. I’m hoping 2011 will be the year.
2. Twitter reaches profitability but does not go public. = WIN +1
- This may seem obvious now but again remember that last year Twitter wasn’t even thinking about a revenue model. I seriously doubt Twitter will go public this year either. I think they still have a long way to go in stabilizing their revenue.
3. There’s a huge developer backlash against Twitter because they keep building functionality several apps have pioneered. = WIN +1
- My thinking at the time was in response to the features Twitter was building into Twitter.com but the biggest backlash came when Twitter acquired the Twitter client Tweetie. More recently they’ve announced Twitter analytics will be forthcoming.
4. Murdoch delists Newscorp sites from Google (actually I doubt he’s ever going to do this but I want him to, just to see what happens). = FAIL – 0
- Murdoch hasn’t delisted all of his sites from Google and the ones he has have had mixed results. I could probably claim a partial win I’m a really tough teacher and this is a pass/fail grading system.
5. Dozens of new journalism startups spring up and quickly garner attention as they hire armies of laid of journalists. = FAIL – 0
- With very few examples like Patch.com and Intersect we have not seen as many journalism focused startups as I imagined.
6. Murdoch relists Newscorp sites in Google before the years over. = FAIL – 0
- Since this one was dependent on number 4 it automatically fails.
7. Phone apps loose their appeal in favor of mobile optimized web pages. = FAIL – 0
- This is probably my most embarrassing fail of them all. Despite all evidence suggesting that this prediction was doomed, my contrarian nature couldn’t resist this out there prediction. This was based more on my own wishful thinking because I’m not a fan of the silos that app markets create.
8. Google Chrome OS does only slightly better than Ubuntu and fails to draw mainstream support. = WIN +1
- Google’s Chrome OS was a false start in 2010 and only recently launched. If it wasn’t for tablets (which were not in play last year) I’d call the Chrome OS dead in 2011 and it still may be but we’ll see how Google uses this when Android is doing so well.
9. The iPhone looses major market share in 2010 to Android. = WIN +1
- To be clear, the iPhone did great this last year but Android did better and has now passed the iPhone by most reports. The lesson from this one is that there is plenty of room for multiple smartphone platforms. iPhone and Android are the clear winners but I think 2011 will be very interesting with everything at stake for the incumbents, RIM, Nokia and Microsoft.
10. Hyper local journalism fails to gain a sustainable business model beyond individual bloggers. = WIN +1
- Hyper local journalism is still a non issue and proves to be unscalable. There are still plenty of players out there and someone may crack the code yet. AOL bought Patch.com and maybe they can bring some scale to the platform but I’m not sold on the idea yet.
Results = 50%
I’m feeling less good about these but humility is a good thing. Over all it’s not too bad for a bunch of wild guesses. I’m working on my 2011 predictions and I think I might take this approach again. I’ll come back with 5 new 1-5 year predictions that are very thoughtful and researched and 10 wild guesses.
(Full disclosure Microsoft is a client and I work with the Windows Phone, Sharepoint and Office clients.)