The social media arena has been dominated by the growth of Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites this year. As we’re nearing 2010, there’s chatter about how networks will evolve going forward and one of the key points I’ve seen in almost every trend forecast is filtering out the clutter.
According to Pingdom, Twitter is already closing in on 30 million tweets a day and the latest figures from Facebook reveal that over 45 million status updates are uploaded on the site each day. It’s no surprise that some users are starting to tune out and some still think that Twitter is a waste of time.
David Armano predicts on the Harvard Business Conversation Starter blog that social media will begin to look less social next year – i.e. we will try to get more value out of our networks through filtering messages (hiding from hyperactive updaters etc).
Twitter has already started tackling this with Twitter Lists, but it raises an interesting question – do we actually want to connect with people we don’t know? The majority of people using social media connect almost exclusively with people they already know in the real world. Or is it simply information overload and we need to be able to administer the incoming messages better?
Either way, it emphasises yet again that successful online PR does not equate to a large number of followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook. As people start to sift through the clutter (and some will probably do this early next year as everyone jumps on the New Year’s resolutions bandwagon and pledge to tidy up their lives in general), brands which aren’t offering something really valuable are likely to be the first ones to fall off the list. Relevant and trusted content has always been important but more aggressive filters will mean it’s paramount to digital PR success next year.
How do you see 2010 panning out? Will it become more difficult for brands to reach consumers through social networks as people are increasingly being bombarded with marketing messages?