What Not To Expect From Social Media in 2013

There are, as usual, many a pundit pontificating on the great things to come in the social media landscape of 2013. So we decided to be a bit more realistic…we are after all, analysts and researchers. We like to poke holes in things. So. Will 2013 be an incredibly exciting, exhilarating and over the top explosion of all things social media? Sorry, but not so much. But it won’t entirely be boring either.

What Not to Expect From Social Media in 2013 | Apps to Services

Really Cool New Apps & Services: Perhaps the last biggest exciting app for social media that came out in 2012 was LeadSift, which looks very promising as that final answer on how business can monetize social media. Other than that, right now, things are looking rather bleak for 2013. The penultimate of social bookmarking is Pinterest, not much more to add to that really is there?

Exciting New Gadgets to Connect With? No: Perhaps, hopefully, just maybe, RIM’s new Blackberry10 OS with its Hub and Balance apps will make for some very useful ways for mobile connectivity to social hubs. Actually, RIM seems to be the only exciting gadget with integrated apps out there. Some anticipate Apple will release a TV, but TV sets that integrate social media and content are not new. Samsung, Sony and Panasonic have all been there, done that and are still losing money. Besides, they’re just connector devices with nothing really compelling behind them. CES is coming up in January but none of our team are drooling in anticipation; a mention around the office tends to generate a “meh” kind of shrug. It will be the “Year of Features” added to existing gadgets, but nothing much more. An iPhone5S? Yawn says the market.

The Next Facebook: Sorry, but Google+, while it is awesome in our view, is not going to replace Facebook. Neither is any other variant out there. It will take something quite powerful for people to give up their network connections/personal address book. We just haven’t seen anything innovative enough and no matter how pissed people get at Facebook, they aren’t leaving in droves, despite the latest furor.

So What Won’t Be Boring in 2013?

People: What we can expect is interesting and sometimes exciting ways in which people use the technologies. From political and civil actions through to silly memes and consumerism. That’s what will be interesting. We expect to see some interesting new uses and content come out of Africa, India, the Middle East and other developing nations. In the Global North, look for people to start getting a bit more serious with civil society issues as well.

Analytics: This may be the year things get interesting, but we aren’t holding our breath…other than what we’ve go in store to release this year. Enough said.

Governments Will Get Interesting
If you thought all the SOPA action was fun and the proposed bills in Canada and the UK parliament got people riled up, it’s going to get a little nuttier ┬áthis year. Issues around content paywalls, broadband fees and metering, privacy laws, patents and freedom of speech will bubble and spark all year.

Conclusion
While it may not be an exciting year for awesome new gadgets to lose our cool over and give the tech journalists vast amounts of speculative fodder to get paid for…it should be an interesting year in how we start really using these tools. We anticipate a number of dribbling hangers-on type services will likely fade away as Series A funding starts to dry up or demand more commercialisation. Remember, its how people engage in social media that really makes it interesting…how the adopt and adapt the various tools, sometimes in ways never anticipated, such as Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, the other thing we can expect to see is the top tier players like Twitter, Google, Facebook and Pinterest etc., start to consolidate their online territory through acquisitions and lawsuits. Tech lawyers will be very happy this year.

So 2013 is not the year of “tech and apps” but the year of people and laws, civil society and entrenchment.