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Forrester’s Social Computing Predictions for 2009

Posted on | January 28, 2009 | No Comments

The social media analysts at Forrester Research released their Top Social Computing Predictions for 2009 yesterday, and, in a nutshell, this is the year it all comes together. Time will tell, of course. Here’s my take on some of the take-aways in the report.

Social technology becomes universal
Sure but for most companies, 2009 is really only the starting point on their social-media journey. Most marketers (or at least marketing VPs) are north of 35 or 40, and this is the tail end of the generation that grew up with email. Yes, they’re embracing Facebook, Twitter and blogging, but making it a natural part of corporate marketing will take a looonnnggg time. There’s just too much tradition and too much worry over control.
In addition, I disagree with the assertion from authors Jeremiah Owyang, Josh Bernoff, Sean Corcoran and Steven Noble that “those coming late to the party will struggle…” Late-comers will only struggle if they’re not open to social concepts. Since it’s evolving, there’s really no “late” to the party; the party is rocking on indefinitely. I’ve seen 50-somethings join Twitter just recently and become hubs of buzz and conversation within a month. It can be done.
I agree with their take that forcing old techniques into this new sausage machine is a bad idea. The medium is the message. It’s a timeless concept.

Static advertising gives way to flexible campaigns
This is a key insight and their comparison to running a dynamic political campaign is spot on. Create, monitor, revise, repeat. It’s really that simple. But, within companies, there’s a huge cultural barrier to overcome. That’s why it’s golden days for consultants and agencies who get the vibe.

Email evolves into a social platform
This, for me, was the biggest wow moment in the report. Boomers may be jumping into the social pool, but they’re not embracing it the way their kids are. That’s because their digital immersion began 20 years ago with email (or the dreaded Wang terminal if you’ll recall those bad old days!). I’ve built social networks for peers that just lie there like a dead thing because they don’t get it. But they’ll still email funny pictures to a group of people. Email has been the one communications channel that really hasn’t evolved much since it was introduced. Now would be a good time and it would really socialize the generation that grew up with it.
The Forrester Report is worth a read. My buddy Blake Cahill at Visible Technologies has a few thoughts as well. They’re in a nice spot to catch the social wave: they sell listening and engagement technologies to help marketers manage the social chaos.

For companies, it’s not too late to get on the social bus; all you need is curiosity, energy and the right attitude.

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No Responses to “Forrester’s Social Computing Predictions for 2009”

  1. dark_faust
    January 28th, 2009 @ 11:28 am

    “Static advertising gives way to flexible campaigns..” Static online adverting – that’s the key phrase. But “campaign” is also crucial. I was talking with an long time EDA guru at Cadence. He lamented the passing of days when editors and their staff would come in to discuss editorial campaigns for the entire year (not advertising, but that would follow). Of course, this is what Ed and I are able to do with the “community” model – thx to a more dynamic business model.

    Good blog, Brian!

  2. Anonymous
    January 28th, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

    Brian nice post and perspective. Blake

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