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Lava Row’s Nathan Wright predicts future of social media

Social media is at a high point for further developing the business models of major companies and establishing a new means of communication for people to share their thoughts, experience and location.

To celebrate, Social Media Club (SMC) Omaha gathered on June 30 at Nomad Lounge for drinks and conversation around the latest trends in social media and how those trends will shape businesses and the internet. This was all in honor of Social Media Day presented by Mashable. SMC Omaha was one of several social media groups worldwide to schedule a meetup.

Joining the Omaha group was Nathan Wright of Lava Row, a Des Moines-based social media consulting, strategy and education firm. Wright delivered his presentation, Social Media: State of the Union 2010, which addressed current and emerging trends in social media.

“Whatever is hot today is possibly going to fizzle or evolve into something else,” Wright said. “It’s based on kind of what’s bubbling under the surface and I’m really interested in things people roll their eyes at.” 

Wright made the following predictions about the state of social media:

  1. The word social media will soon go away. The web has always been social. Companies continue to integrate social actions, such as customer service, into their business models. Therefore, social media will eventually be called the internet again.
  2. Facebook as an identity company. Facebook seeks to be a users’ gateway to the world wide web. Your Facebook ID will be just as important as the information on your driver’s license or social security number within the next 10 years.
  3. Finance will be the next industry disrupted by the internet. Several social banking applications, such as SmartyPig, Dwolla and Mint, are helping consumers be more money smart. This innovation is key to the future of social commerce happening on the web.
  4. Newspapers are changing shape. Fast. Publications are beginning to utilize the internet to become more sustainable and to take on the use of social media platforms. Institutional news brands are going to start licensing content from online sources. This is evident in the partnership between Silicon Prairie News and the Omaha World-Herald.
  5. TV will spread across many platforms and devices. Television is moving from cable to emerging to web channels, such as YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and iTunes. These channels can be accessed from mobile devices, gaming consoles and laptop computers.
  6. Cars and planes will become mobile devices with amazing social applications. Social applications have the potential to be synced to global positioning systems once wifi becomes a product of planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation. For example, you will be able to see where your friends like to dine on a GPS if your vehicle was synced to your foursquare ID.
  7. All websites will be social. Websites are transitioning from static destinations to social congregation spaces. Google SideWiki, a browser extension allowing users to make and view comments about a given website with feedback and information, is becoming the extent of that.
  8. Twitter will evolve from a social network into a mainstream publishing platform for media and businesses. Rather than serving as a self-expression and networking platform, Twitter is evolving into a marketing outlet and serving as a medium for acquiring breaking news worldwide. 
  9. Social customer relationship management (CRM) is about to become a big industry. LinkedIn and Salesforce are adding to the value of email addresses and phone numbers typically used by CRM databases. With the use of social networking IDs, these platforms are going to be major proponents in how these databases are used in the future. 
  10. Location-based networks will add layers of metadata to in-real-life (IRL) situations. Foursquare and Gowalla are adding value to the decisions we make to visit a restaurant or travel to a city. Not only are users curious about the places they visit, they are becoming inquisitive as to who the people are that visit these locations and why they visit. This context will leave behind vital information to users on the web.

After his presentation, I asked Nathan how he came up with these 10 predictions and how the thought of the finance industry becoming disrupted by the internet will affect entrepreneurs (tune in at 1:10). 



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