The anti-prediction of 2012 social media predictions


This is the time of year for predictions and it’s all starting to sound like yada-yada to me.  Probably you too?

But how many bloggers go back and actually let you know how they did with last year’s predictions? Let’s start there, and then I will add four surprising 2012 predictions of my own at the end.

Here are social media predictions I made throughout 2011 and my grade for my guess!

Google+ will not be the Facebook killer. People went crazy when I predicted this, especially since at that point I had not even tried it! Doesn’t matter. The switching costs are too high among Facebook’s core audience. I think Google+ is important and it will survive but it will not upend Facebook.  Am I right?  Too early to tell, but I think I am trending correct on this one. I’ll have to give myself an incomplete.

Quora is not the next big thing.  In early 2011 I was the lone voice it seemed not piling on the Robert Scoble bandwagon. Scoble had declared that Quora would replace blogging and was more useful and elegant than Facebook and Twitter.  I said no, there was not going to be a Quorgasm — it was too easily gamed, too noisy and too difficult to navigate. Yes, I was right.  Grade = A +

QR Codes will soon be obsolete — Many people predicted that QR codes would rock the world in 2011 simply because they were so popular in Japan. That’s the first mistake. Never assume what takes in Japan will take someplace else.  I said that QR codes are the eight-track tapes of our generation because will be a mis-applied, over-used gimmick and people will end up not trusting them.   I saw an article last week declaring QR Codes dead so it is too early to tell but I think I am trending positive on this.  I’ll give myself at least a B.

Augmented reality gets big.   I was a little ahead of my time on this. I thought AR would take off in a bigger way in 2011 but it is still in the silent movie stages. I still think I’m right but it didn’t happen as fast as I thought. Grade = C

Social Media “re-set” – I thought that during the 2012 budget planning process, marketing executives who were caught in the early social media hype would look over their budgets and figure out they’re not getting the traction they expected.  Too early to tell if there will be a budget re-set, but I think the anecdotal evidence I hear is that I’m wrong.  Small businesses are still catching up of course and the big brands I’m talking to are moving ahead with some pretty advanced stuff.  Would like to know what you think.  Grade = D

Social scoring takes center stage – A year ago when I made this prediction, nobody had heard of Klout.  Yeah, I got this one right.  Way right.  Grade = A+

Social for the enterprise – I wrote that internal uses of social media was the next big frontier for social media. Since that time, Yammer, a leading enterprise provider, had a nearly 200 percent growth rate according to various reports and now has some type of installation in 80 percent of the Fortune 500 companies. And it’s just getting started. Yes, yes, yes.  Grade = A

Micro payments – finally? Facebook started dipping its toe into micro payments in 2010 by giving out free credits to help condition customers use the new credit system.  Yes, this is taking off for virtual goods you can buy on Farmville but it is not the general monetization system for art, music and even blogging that I envisioned. Could still happen but not there yet, Grade = D.

OK … Here are four offbeat predictions for 2012:

1) 2012 will be The Year of the Bird.  On a percentage basis, Twitter will be the fastest-growing social media platform. It’s not new, it’s not sexy, but right now it is getting hot in high schools and that is where the cool stuff starts. It is also exploding overseas.  Watch out for Twitter.

2) Facebook will create alternate universes.  Facebook is too freaking complicated and changes too much.  And while it grew on the back of teens, Grandma represents the fastest-growing demographic. The platform will have to design user interfaces tailored for different market segments … more analytics for geeks, cool new skins for the kids, a larger typeface for the senior crowd.

3) Crowdsourcing goes enterprise. Crowdsourcing has so much potential but also carries a stigma of unfair labor practices.  Based on growth rates calculated by, it look like this has the potential to finally take off on an enterprise level if companies can be assured of politically-correct and fairly-paid sources of labor.

4) Social Scoring — You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.  Klout stumbled and fumbled in 2011 but they also made breathtaking progress that was rewarded by brands.  But the real breakthrough is going to happen in 2012 —  Connecting online conversations to offline behavior. It’s already happening in small ways but the real rocket will be the Facebook Timeline.  Will work like this: Joey just posted and tweeted about a new record. Facebook Timeline shows Joey’s friends bought the record.  Record companies send Joey free stuff.

Along these same lines, I think Klout will continue to dominate this niche in 2012.  Although the entry barriers to this niche are really low (come up with an algorithm, attach it to the Twitter API and go), distilling wisdom from that big data takes some fire-power. Klout is far ahead in this respect.   However, I do think there is room for social scores based on different influence niches like teens, fashionistas, foodies, politics, and local measures of influence.  I also predict Klout Klubs will emerge so topical experts can find each other and interact based on this social proof.

What did I hit?  What did I miss?  Would love to hear your opinions in the comment section!

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