We all know about Twitter and Facebook – how could we not as they have been beaten into our brains over the last year. Most of us are likely fatigued from the overload of media attention they have generated – Facebook this, Twitter that. Yet if you use these tools to help promote your business, you know the importance of keeping up with any news related to these two social media giants.
On a smaller scale, Twitter and Facebook are not the only games in town to pay attention to as there are newer players on the social media field. These newer players are helping to define the future trends in social media and networking. Here are 4 trends to watch and the web apps that are behind them:
Screencasting is the ability to share your computer screen with others for the purpose of a tutorial or business presentation. If you have ever attended a webinar, an online meeting, or viewed a tutorial video on YouTube, then you have experienced screencasting. Screencasting will continue to grow and become a part of the social media fabric for 2010.
Screenr – Screenr.com is an ingenious tool. If you are familiar with Jing or Camtasia by TechSmith, then you will be familiar with the concept of Screenr. Basically, Screenr allows you to record a screencast and publish it online using nothing more than your browser and microphone. No downloading of a program required and Screenr hosts the file for you and even lets you send a tweet to your Twitter account to share the screencast video with your Twitter followers. The web app is amazingly simple to use and get started with, although you won’t have editing abilities like you will get with a paid application like Camtasia. A great use for the program is to create mini-presentations, such as talking through a PowerPoint presentation on your screen. It is a free online service so take note that your recordings will need to be limited to 5 minutes. You can also post your screencasts to YouTube or embed the screencast into another website or blog.
2. Social Media Aggregators:
With so many social media websites out there, it can get difficult to manage multiple logins and to remember to post information to all of your open accounts. Much of the time the information you post on Twitter may be the same information that you planned to post on Facebook. Social media aggregators put multiple accounts from various social media websites under one umbrella. Via one login, you can make a single post that is shared over multiple social media websites. Also, you can view all of the content posted to multiple social media sites that another user that you follow has posted – it aggregates, or combines, these multiple streams onto one timeline. Think of a social media aggregator as a social media hub or command center where you can manage all, or most, of your social media activities. While social media aggregators are not new, their popularity is set to explode in the months ahead.
FriendFeed – Some out there may question listing FriendFeed as a trend in social media. After all, since being purchased by Facebook, the Friendfeed platform is almost dead in the water. However, FriendFeed is (was?) an innovator in social media aggragation. They are now owned by big money via Facebook. The technology will be leveraged on Facebook and new FriendFeed competitors will build on FriendFeed’s innovation and fill the gaps that FriendFeed’s lack of development leaves.
Cliqset – If it can get a foothold, Cliqset is poised to be the next FriendFeed. Cliqset has a FriendFeed-feel to it, but in my opinion, raises the bar a notch or two.
Flock Browser – What if your website browser was your social media aggregator? It would be if you are using the Flock browser. Firefox users have long been installing add-ons to give them more functionality and integration with social media websites. Flock recognized this and built a new Firefox-powered browser that comes fully tricked out with every imaginable social networking feature and then some. From the Flock browser you can Tweet, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, WordPress, Picasa, Delicious bookmark, Digg, follow RSS feeds and more. Big deal, you think as you can do that from any browser, but with Flock, you login to the browser then you have instant access to all your online accounts. Plus, all those accounts are available from a sidebar while you view other websites. Online multitasking and social media aggregation at it’s finest.
3. Project Colaboration:
Social networking involves communicating and sharing content with others. Combined with how it tracks everything on a time line, social networking is a natural for project collaboration.
Google Wave – While there are many online project management tools out there, Google Wave is mentioned as it has had billing as a social media platform. It’s true calling, however, seems to be in project collaboration. It could be said that Google has made project collaboration a social media experience. While not widespread as of yet, Google Wave has a lot of interest. As more companies adopt Google’s cloud services, such as Google Docs, for business, expect those businesses to also experiment with Google Wave for client projects.
4. Analytical Tracking:
The first step for most in social media has been to simply get involved with it, to learn what it is and how to use it. Now that the break-in period is over and acceptance has been reached, business users are wondering how to get the most out of it and to track what is working and what is not. While there are many analytic tools out there that can track anything under the sun, most of the free online apps aimed at tracking social media are geared towards Twitter. However, watch for analytic tracking to expand to cover more social media applications.
HootSuite – While primarily a Twitter client for managing multiple Twitter accounts, HootSuite has built-in analytical tracking that makes tracking the success of your Twitter posts a breeze. You can track how many clicks you get from each of your URL’s that you post in HootSuite. By knowing how many clicks your posts get, you will get an idea of what content you share is of the most interest of your followers. You can also determine if your activity on Twitter is paying off or if there is too little interest from your followers to legitimize the effort.
What trends do you see happening in social media for 2010?