10 Social Media And Technology Trend Predictions For 2011

Natalie Sisson Founder, The Suitcase Entrepreneur

Posted on December 31st 2010

This is always an exciting time of the year. You’re ready to go on holiday and have your well earned break and at the same time you’re anticipating a new year and the changes it inevitably brings.

What will 2011 hold for you? What will be the major trends to look out for? And how will this whole social media thing play out?

Here’s a few things we do know.

The rate at which technology is changing our online world is pretty awe inspiring. The changes we see almost daily on our social media sites are an indication of that.

We all realize that the online world that we operate in today will look vastly different in just 6 months from now, let alone a few years.

If you’re ready to accept this and be open to this continual change, then you’re in a great position to capitalise on the top 10 trends in social media for 2011.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Social Media adaptation

If you’ve been using the Top 5 social media sites for more than few years – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and a blog, then you’re considered an early adopter. Slowly the rest of the world is catching on.

When Harvard and Browns Universities started teaching Social Media classes, you knew this `stuff’ was important and no longer just a fad.

Prediction: More people will adopt social media as their key platform of personal and professional communication, networking, branding, marketing and sales. It’s here to stay.

Single User Access to Multiple sites

We already know that Facebook Connect has been widely adopted by individuals and businesses alike. It makes sense to make it as easy as pie for people to connect with you on your website using one of the largest social media sites as your login credentials. Plus it spreads the word further by ensuring every action they take on your site is shared on Facebook.

YouTube were smart to allow Google Connect on their site, so that you could use your Gmail login to access our account.

Prediction: More of the social media sites will allow for this single access sign-on using one main login credential. Perhaps even merging – i.e using your Twitter login for Facebook too. This will make it far more likely that people will interact across the platforms on a more regular basis. At the same time their online footprint will be available on more sites and also their information….

New laws on privacy

The above trend is one that concerns a lot of us. Who currently holds the power? Is it the Mark Zuckerbergs’ of this world who have virtually all your personal information at their fingertips? Or the governments who can shut down such a site at will and demand access to your information?

A great example of this was China’s government banning Google earlier this year and the power battles that ensued.

Prediction: Ongoing privacy issues will lead to a tightening up on the key social media sites and a universal legislation developed. This will primarily deal with the increasing attacks on our privacy due to the amount of information we’re putting out and who owns this.

Social Media TV

Twitter has already stated they want to be the real-time TV channel of the decade. They showed it at the MTV Awards earlier this year. By allowing TV fans watching to interact by tweeting, they bridged a connection of the online world to the offline world in real time.

It’s getting easier and easier to make and produce videos and more personalities are tending towards creating their own `free’ TV channels that will compete with mass media. Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV is a great example of this.

Prediction: Major networks will look to host online channels with free and paid for access to content in real-time. They will seek to partner with influential individuals creating great TV content through social networks.

Merging of the big names with the upstarts

It’s not just Google and Microsoft that acquire startups with new technology. Some of the main social media sites have done a great job at acquiring companies that have built valuable applications and plugins to extend their platforms.

Prediction: Smaller social media sites and services will look to merge to become a larger entity able to compete on a bigger stage, along with LinkedIn and Facebook. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if MySpace became integrated with YouTube to enhance its dying service in a unique creative spin-off merging a site with a local TV network.

Online marketing spend increase

It’s been baffling to read reports of the continual spend on traditional forms of marketing such as magazines, billboards, TV ads and print fliers. Especially when the figures clearly show that it’s becoming way less effective in a world dominated by online users.

Newsflash- we don’t look up from our laptops or smartphones to read that billboard anymore (ok slight exaggeration but you’re nodding your heads in agreement).

Prediction: Finally this ridiculous activity of spending huge amounts of money on traditional forms of advertising will shift towards spending online. Companies will recognize the value of the potential audiences they can reach for far less and much more quickly and invest in social media as a delivery vehicle.

Smartphone dominance

With over 70% of the world having mobile access now it’s only time before many of those become smartphones. Imagine what this means for us as individuals, but more importantly businesses seeking a global audience.

Prediction: Internet access in developing countries will increase (with the appropriate infrastructure build of course) allowing international borders to be crossed with ease and a huge new audience wanting to consume the offerings of the online world – and bring new ones.

International communities

The above prediction means of course that we will go more global. The fact that China’s social network is larger than Facebook and Brazil’s is close on its heels means there’s a wide audience not dominated by the western world.

Prediction: The ability to start businesses online with international partners and offerings will become far easier. New services will be appear catering to language barriers and payments to ensure this trend becomes mainstream.

Women power

The recent report put out by Intuit shows that over the next decade, women around the world will enter the workforce at an unprecedented rate. Close to 1 billion women, who had not previously participated in the mainstream global economy will do so by 2020.

The fastest growing demographic of Facebook user is currently 55 year old plus women. We are creating a She-conomy. Plus women are naturally more social so it makes sense that we are adapting well to the social media sites.

Prediction: Women will overcome the legal or traditional barriers that prevented them from participating in some regions by using virtual, mobile and Internet technologies to run businesses without having to be physically present. Businesses will recognize this and start creating customized products and services online to cater to them.

Consumers shape the online marketplace

Thanks to the number of amazing tools and services we have out our disposal these days it’s starting to transform the communities we build and the relationships we make online and offline.

Recent results have shown that nontraditional influencers, such as bloggers and social network contacts are the key people we turn to before making a purchasing decision. It makes sense really, you generally buy on recommendations from friends.

Now you have these social networks where you’re exposed to your friend’s friends’ too and their influence will continue to expand.

Prediction: Businesses are going to be forced to step up and take on multiple, inter-connected approaches to reach new customers, most of whom are hanging out on the web. We will see more companies using their customers as the face of their business – either by sponsoring bloggers or highlighting top customers in their online campaigns.

These are just some of the trends that 2011 holds. Do you think they’re bang on or I’ve gone stark raving mad? Do you have some more to add? Let’s hear em!


Natalie Sisson

Founder, The Suitcase Entrepreneur

I’m a passionate Integrated Marketer with over 10 years of corporate experience in marketing, communications, brand and product management for some major companies in New Zealand, England and Canada across the widest variety of industries.

See Full Profile >


Posted on December 31st 2010 at 5:09PM

Great write up, and spot on to what we have been preaching to businesses continually. 

Posted on January 2nd 2011 at 12:14AM

Great post, I think social media will really gain a lot more steam this year especially with integrated platforms and further advancement of technology.

Posted on January 4th 2011 at 2:28AM

Would add to your predictiions that 2011 will see the re-emergence of mobile messaging as a new force in social media--both for personal communications and for mobile marketing.

Posted on January 6th 2011 at 6:34PM

Kevin and William thanks - your feedback's much appreciated. Glad we're all preaching the same thing.

Timo great point - I don't think it's gone away but will come back in full force. Twitter started out a text message service!