7. Psychology is shifting
Until now, human psychology has been regarded slow to change. In the coming year we will begin to see evidence that we are, in fact, witnessing a growing psychological plasticity.
We have changed the importance of time, geography, age and the assumption of how the world works. We have new levels of cognitive flexibility, which is creating a new way of thinking about the world and about ourselves, said Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research Center and co-founder of A Think Lab.
Once feeling powerless to fight against personal and cultural injustices, today people know they have the power to voice their grievances, the tools to bring about change and the ability to take control of their experiences.
As the constructs of relationships, privacy and our ability to influence others evolve, we will also face important questions: How do we respond to the changing definition of relationships? How does the elimination of behavioral cues, only available face-to-face, impact our ability to connect? How does our need for emotional balance get addressed in the face of constant change?
In the coming year, companies wishing to succeed should already start to set practices and create a charter to understand the intersection between technology and psychology. Focusing on behaviors is no longer sufficient.
8. Citizen activism brings back purpose and power
With the power made possible by social technologies to connect, inform and mobilize, we will see a surge in self-organized and managed citizen activism. Value will come from being able to facilitate groups as a human infrastructure, not from technology, says Andrea Saveri, a thought-leader and researcher at the intersection of foresight and strategy.
Wikipedia and Mozilla FireFox are early and ongoing examples of the value of the connected human infrastructure; many more, including Causecast, and OpenIDEO, as well as lesser known projects like It Gets Better will light up the grid. By the end of the year we may each join a group of people we have never met in order to take part in bringing about change in completely new ways.
9. Social business intelligence will heat up and so will privacy
As we become ever more connected, and rely on giants like Apple and Google to funnel our most personal information, the field of social business intelligence, and with it, our privacy, will move to the spotlight. Wikileaks‘ eruption on the social media waves and Do Not Track are just previews. Every company now looks to tap into the boundless user data being collected in the cloud. While personalized, targeted experience can be extremely valuable in helping companies and consumers cut through the clutter, the line between perceived use and abuse can be thin at times, as data mining and targeted ad delivery pioneer RapLeaf saw in past months.
In the year ahead we will witness (and be part of) major data virtualization initiatives designed to map our activities, preferences and choices. Mechanisms designed to triangulate our mobile, online and physical information will yield more accurate information than our Social Security numbers can. We will see fierce regulation battles and hear about companies who use our data to test boundaries and our trust. When done, Tom Cruise’s shopping scene in Minority Report will seem as sophisticated as scenes from Time Tunnel in the 1970s.
10. The role of the social media strategist will be changing
The glory days when social media strategists rose to stardom overnight (and too often, with little relevant experience) are finally over. Social media roles today focus on tangible, results-driven capabilities within the organizational structure and processes. Hiring managers are more informed and better connected, making it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff.
In 2011, social media strategists will need to contend with much more actionable, and often mundane, tasks such as selecting and piloting new tools, integrating social widgets and analytics, helping to educate the organization, and integrating social-based thinking into the organization’s process and culture. Process design, stakeholder management, strategic planning, and the ability to manage large projects within complex environments will all be required.
Strategists looking to remain inspired and work at the cutting edge will have to look outside today’s leading corporations. Some of the most interesting social media work will come from new media digital agencies, smaller innovative companies, international companies who are just entering the field and late-to-adopt sectors such as health, finance and insurance.
In the year ahead we will see more of the same: more users on Facebook, more videos, more social media widgets, more tools, more devices, more applications. But it will also be a year of important accomplishments and fundamental shifts in our thinking, behavior and psychology. As social media and social technologies integrate deeper into our daily lives and across vast audiences, our areas of focus will begin to transform.
Companies will begin to overhaul their internal structures and decision-making processes even if at a fairly superficial levels at first; consumers will seek to make sense of their evolving relationships, always-on connectedness, and to redefine value and meaning.
As we finally surface from social media stimulus overload, the questions we will ask in the coming year should not be about technology but about what it enables, what it jeopardizes and about how we, as the connected collective, want to shape the years to come.
Source: Read Write Web