Well, it’s the first official work day of 2010. In sympathy with my friend Greg, I do not have a flying car. I do not have a jet pack. I have not seen a Monolith anywhere. I do have some predictions for the internet, our lives and authentic businesses.
Prediction 1 :Speed in 2010: Pickin’ up the pace
The first half of the decade was filled with Internet Hangover and Terror. In the second half of the decade A flood of government spending from FEMA followed by absurdly easy and exotic mortgages followed by even more absurd derivatives fueled a whiplash inducing (and hangover causing) rise in the economy. The economy was moving at breakneck pace with free money given to anyone with or without heartbeat.
Then snap went the banks and everything ground to a halt.
In 2009, it felt to many they were walking through a mine field and every step was a life or death decision. Some businesses are starting to get their sea legs, many have simply vanished. As people find their place in “This Economy” they are going to need new information and fast.Everyone willmoreso then ever need information on how to keep customers and their customers will need information on authentically improving their lives.
Google came blazing out of the Millennium and here they come again
Google came out of the Internet Bubble in spades. If you study the battle for Search supremacy (read “Search” by John Battelle) you can see that the bubble bursting almost made Google.
Now they hope to do it again by increasing the speed at which information is updated and with which we get that information.
Google has incorporated Real Time search for hot topics. If you have not seen it, one of the biggest ones in the last Quarter was Tiger Woods. If you Googled “Tiger Woods” The usual universal search results appeared but you also received an upwardly scrolling box showing up to the minute updates including Twitter Results. The internet masses proved a need to both give news and get news lightning fast. We saw it with the plane landing in the Hudson, the Iranian Protests, the death of Michael Jackson and Google responded to the challenge with their “coverage” of Tiger Woods Scandal.
Google will also be giving accolades for speed in websites. How will they do this? No gold star, just higher placement in search results for faster sites. The need for speed is going to set the pace. What does this mean to you? If your site is slow and you want to compete in Google, you have got to pick up the pace. A slow site could mean the difference between page one and page two.
Speed will purvey as people look for fast loading videos, and quicker information from blogs. Hence, I am not even sure if anyone will read this far in the search of predictions. Most likely they will read the headings.
Prediction #2: The Rise of Social Search
This is going to be hairy one but already in the works. In the search for speed and relevancy we look to referrals from trusted sources. In real speak this means we want to be able to get answers NOW from people like us. Not just answers to typical questions we ask of the internet, but answers on how to run our lives. What news to read, what restaurants to frequent, and what Olympic events to watch are all things we will be looking for others to answer fast.
In comes Social Search. Instead of an algorithm of relatively objective factors, sites like Facebook will start “Anonymously” scouring updates, likes and dislikes for information to pile into answers. This has been in the works for a while but I think this will be the year it comes out an becomes a very hot topic.
The problem comes in that we use Facebook with an erroneous feeling that the information is ours and not Facebook’s to rifle through. Mark Zuckerberg’s team reinforced that idea with increased privacy settings. But then they played their hand by showing the top topics of 2009 proving Facebook is paying very close attention to everything you do or say on the Social Networking Site.
Before you call up some privacy group, remember you are using a very powerful networking tool for free. Also remember that Social Search could actually help you make even better decisions.
For your business, this means you need people to talk about you on the web, especially on Social Media sources like Facebook. Back are the days of referrals (they never really were gone, just changed) and the power of the individual consumer.
I did not dedicate much space to it here but Social Search is VERY IMPORTANT to business, especially small businesses.
Prediction #3: A leader will arise Geo Local Social Networking
I am not sure if the leader will arise from the New City or wear a blue turban, but with the ubiquitous nature of GPS on smartphones, people will start playing games more often relating to their relative location. One of the things I noticed early on was the difficulty in understanding exactly where the person you were connecting with on FB or My space actually was located. Now we can not only tell but play games. With Foursquare rising, I think their will be a rise in the use of geography locating social networking games.
For your local business this means knowing where your consumer is but also having the ability to further hone down exactly who your best targets are.
Prediction #4: Opportunity Abounds and Hazards await
This is not so much a prediction but an observation. The biggest fortunes have all been made in times of rapid flux. Along with major failures come major opportunities. While I think the worst is behind us for a few years, the world is rapidly changing. Fear of failure could keep you gripping on to the railing, but this is your time.
Set your goals and a standard by which to measure your successes. Remember dollars today do not always equal dollars tomorrow. Are you genuinely helping people? Are you constantly innovating the way you do it? Are you making sure the right people are finding you and talking about your business on the web?
Seth Godin speaks volumes to the point of opportunity in the future in a short blog post about this gargantuan topic of future opportunity. You should definitely read it.
Don’t worry, it’s fast.