What can’t social media do? Google “social media trends 2010,” and you’ll encounter the usual sea of predictions from relevant influencers and naysayers.
A top result is TrendSpotting Market Research’s Trend Predictions in 140 Characters. Its “tweet style” forecasting makes for a breezy read of what it sees as buzz worthy â€” like transparency, location-sharing and privacy.
It’s an enlightening read from the frontline figures in social marketing and “technical evangelism,” who continue to report warm and fuzzy web views.
Indeed, transparency and especially location-sharing are profitable bets: It’s why many are banking on Foursquare, a smartphone app that mixes GPS-pinpoints with social gaming.
Part friend-finder, part city-guide, the application encourages users to “check in” at various locations around the city â€” and the world.
And then there’s Blippy (A.K.A. the Twitter of personal finance), which simply asks: “What are your friends buying?” The service asks you and friends to “passively share” with one another credit card transactions. “Ashvin spent $16.47 at Amazon, Sammy spent $11.52 at iTunes,” reads a screengrab of typical updates on Blippy’s site.
So when Twitter CEO Evan Williams tweets a prediction forecasting the profitability of transparency (“Many of the great businesses of the next decade will be about making information about our behaviors more visible” he said), it conveniently leads to a 2010 trend I’ll be following closely: Privacy.
After all, Facebook’s no longer a “private” social network. Even though the recent privacy option changes comply with recommendations from Canada’s Privacy Commission, your default update option isn’t “only friends” or “friends of friends” â€” it’s “everyone.”
These changes were supposed to make privacy options easier. Instead, warns digital rights non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation, it “will actually reduce the amount of control users have over some of their personal data.”
Is privacy dead then? Last week, a Twitter debate between British web 2.0 academic Andrew Keen and TechCrunch co-editor Erick Schonfeld settled on the following conclusion: “If 21st century default is living in public,” wrote Keen. “Privacy will be the new scarcity.”
But Schonfeld later blogged on TechCrunch a more practical view: “When public is the default, you deliberately select what to keep private instead of the other way around. It’s not that privacy disappears. But it becomes more a matter of emphasis and a conscious decision.”