Social Media: 4 Predictions for 2012

by Eric Harr on October 27, 2011


“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”

~Mohandas Gandhi

Why lead a piece on the future with a quote arguing against it? One: Mohandas is the man. And two: I believe that staying present-moment focused is how to achieve the best results: in sport, business, family–or life. Immersing oneself in the moment, without being distracted by the nagging pull of the past or future, allows you to produce your finest work–and live your best life.

That said, I also believe passionately in the blue sky opportunities of social media. It holds tremendous promise and is changing rapidly. It’s important to know where social media may be headed so that you can get out in front of it.

Here are four predictions for what we’ll likely see from social in 2012:

For Us

Social media will continue its jaw-dropping, eye-popping growth because it’s not a media. It’s a human relationship, and connecting and communicating are not wants; they’re needs. The needs to be heard, to feel appreciated and to be connected are woven into our very genetic code. Humans have waited millenia for this kind of influence and reach, and they will never, ever give that up.

For You

As more people learn how to leverage these increasingly-powerful tools, the ones who are happy in their current jobs will become more powerful, effective, efficient engines for their companies. They’ll use social media gain greater influence; and they’ll understand the importance of personal branding–to excel in what they do.

For those who don’t love their work, they’ll start to wonder why on Earth they’re doing work they don’t love, and why on Earth they’re building the dreams of their bosses instead of themselves. This will lead to heart-stirring thoughts around how they might be able to parlay their passion into a viable business–so they can fire their bosses!

As Thoreau said, we must “go confidently in the direction of our dreams and live the lives we’ve imagined.” Life is not a dress rehearsal. Never before in history has it been easier, and cheaper, to start your own business. The cost of entry is virtually zero. So, I predict that more people will “moonlight” their business ideas. A good number of them will find traction in the marketplace, and these people will jump ship from their current jobs. I toast these intrepid souls. Nothing will make you happier than controlling your own destiny. A great book to light the fire and get you going is: Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in On Your Passion (Harper Studio, 2009) by Gary Vaynerchuck.

For Businesses

More businesses will flood in to social media, wild-eyed, without proper strategies in place–and they will quickly become disillusioned by the dearth of results. The smart ones will use social media strategically to drive key business objectives and measure financial impact.

Social media is maturing. How, and if, it can produce a tangible return on investment is the most hotly-debated topic in the space. Businesses that have been engaging in social will start to demand financial impact from engagement. In other words, non-financial outcomes–such as Twitter followers, video views and even traffic to the website–will matter less to executives (and they should). Savvy business leaders will demand that social media drive financial impact: higher sales and new customers. Moreover, they’ll want to be able to measure that efficiently to draw valuable business insights from those measurements.

For Our World

Globally, social media will continue to foment revolutions and mete out justice–as these tools become more pervasive among the oppressed people of the world. They are tasting freedom. They’re willing to die for it, and social media is helping them win it. That is why social media is not another dot-com bubble, as some critics claim. Dot-com was driven by greed. Social media is driven by need.

Finally, I have a fifth prediction I hope will materialize: As a CARE Ambassador, I hope social media will start to live up to its breathtaking potential to help heal our world by defending dignity and fighting poverty. I believe social media can unleash a world of social good.

With all my heart, I hope it does.

Like the post? You’ll love the book! Eric Harr is the Founder & President of Resonate Social Media, a leading, integrated social media agency in San Francisco. He is an award-winning TV host on CBS News and the best-selling author of the new book “The REAL TRUTH About Social Media: 8 Timeless Truths Uncovered & 8 Monumental Myths Revealed” available in electronic and hard copy (pre-order).

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