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Big Changes Coming in Social Media in 2011

In 2011 there will be monumental changes in social media. And by monumental I don’t mean anything that has to do with new platforms or new tools. No, I mean there will be monumental changes in the way people use them.

Here then are my 5 Big Changes in Social Media for 2011

1. People will want more real experiences: It will no longer be acceptable to interrupt real, in-person conversation to check-in, tweet or update your status. Those of us who have had it up to here with this kind of rudeness will start calling people on it. We’ll all be looking to take social and other web experiences and find some real aspect to them.

The opportunity: Real Foursquare badges anyone? Any marketer who can take an online experience and add entertainment or some other real-world value will reap big rewards.

2. Social networks + email = marketer’s dream: Email is newly resurgent as a marketing tool. Combine this with the ability of social networks to help identify groups of interested customers and you have a winning combination.


The opportunity: Marketers will use email to encourage the sharing of content on social networks and use social networks to encourage engagement via email – a win-win for both email and social marketing.

3. Social network growth will slow: Facebook will continue its inexorable march to get everyone (and their pets) signed up and Twitter will continue to explode as a newsfeed. However, everyone will become a lot more selective about who they follow, friend, fan and like. This will mean a slowing in the growth of social networks.


The opportunity: The percentage of active participants on networks will rise meaning those you engage with are more likely to respond.

4. We’ll all watch the clock: How much time we are willing to spend on a given social platform will become an issue. So many people signed up on Facebook in the past 12 to 24 months, for example, that the newness of the network kept a lot of them on it for hours at a time. That, will change rapidly in 2011 as the newness wears off and we reconsider the utility of two or three hours per day spent on a social network.


The opportunity: Anyone who operates online and can simplify processes (from the sign-in to the check-in to the posting of a comment) will win big.

5. We’ll reach a saturation point: “Social media saturation” will become a catchphrase and as a result we'll all start trimming if not wholesale chopping down the number of social sites we visit to only those most-relevant to us.


The opportunity: With the crowds starting to form around fewer networks it will become increasingly easy to figure out which platforms and social network members are truly influential.

So, what do you think? Can any or all of this come to pass in social media in 2011?

Join The Conversation

  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Jan 5 Posted 6 years ago Mike Johansson

    Thanks Jake! I think this is already happening, but it will really take off when marketers see how these two approaches can be so synergistic.

  • Jan 5 Posted 6 years ago Jake Coventry (not verified)

    Nice article.  Really interesting point you have made about - "Marketers will use email to encourage the sharing of content on social networks and use social networks to encourage engagement via email – a win-win for both email and social marketing."

  • Jan 4 Posted 6 years ago RapidusMedia (not verified)

    Great article!  I have really seen Twitter activity starting to ebb over the past year or so.  I have to agree with most of your points especially on creating real experiences. I forsee a boom in mobile media marketing.

    I look forward to reading more of your insightful articles in 2011.

  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Jan 3 Posted 6 years ago Mike Johansson


      You make excellent points.

      As to No. 2: my phrasing is likely the problem, but in attempting to keep the post short I was trying to say that social networks identify the most-interested consumers and email then can deliver the offers those consumers are more than likely interested in. I do agree that straight up push marketing is on the way out.

    Perhaps it is my phrasing of No. 3 that's the issue. I think we are saying the same thing. I was trying to say that the explosive growth stage may be over and that instead of each of us signing up for three, five or 10 networks this year, we may only sign up for one or two. That, by itself will slow the growth of networks as a whole.

      Thanks for the feedback and I did read your post. I agree that in the same way bees, for example, exert some form of collective intelligence we may all be headed in that direction with social neworks. It's just that at the moment the channels are all over the place and there is not yet a cohesive central channel to distill all of the communication. But it will come.

    Thanks again,



  • Jan 3 Posted 6 years ago popbcn

    Hi Mike,

    I agree with you,  but these 5 points are happening right now !!! 

    I will say that FB and other social networks are killer aplications, and the big change is how FB is going to eat.......Youtube? creating FB video?  We will see..



  • Mike Johansson's picture
    Jan 1 Posted 6 years ago Mike Johansson

    All -

       Thanks for the feedback. And I will admit Craig that I too hope most, if not all, of this comes to pass. Alicia, I agree with your take on local audiences, but I wonder if the definition of "local" might need updating. For example, does "local" now mean the people I most often interact with on Twitter or is it the people I see somewhat regulalrly at the local supermarket? And Lijo: I'm not predicting an end to Facebook, just a slowing in the growth rate.

        Thanks for commenting and Happy New Year to all of you!

  • Jan 1 Posted 6 years ago Darin Kirschner (not verified)

    Hi Mike, great thought provoking blog.

    I agree with #1, but find myself questioning the other 4...

    #2 is what I think marketers HOPE and PRAY will be true, but I see people becoming tired and distrustful of push marketing on email. The more marketing that comes across email, the more resistant the public will become to it. If marketers concentrate on keeping the "buy" message on the traditional broadcasting/print/outdoor media, and allow Social outlets to concentrate on RETENTION through community building, the more successful they will be overall.

    I agree that if marketers encourage content generation on their Social channels they may be successful in building audience, which is important, but if they push advertising before gaining trust and getting permission first, they will kill their SM strategy.

    #3 I don't think Social growth will slow during 2011. On the contrary, technology is evolving at such an alarming rate that it is becoming easier by the day for potential user markets to open that have never considered it before. Grandparents adding photos, kids convincing their parents to allow access as security gets better, teens using better integration of mobile and online Social, + international market penetration.

    #4 While I agree somewhat that users will become more structured in their use, Social is becoming more useful itself. Not just game playing or gossip, the confluence of video entertainment, purchasing, socializing and working is becoming more fluid and the divisions blurrier. I think users will continue in the same amount of time invested online, just better defined in use.

    #5 sounds like a pretty good bet, but as networks like Path come along with closer connections and better mobile integration, more migration may occur where niche networks start to become the norm. This could especially be pushed by brands looking to build community. These mid-sized networks of 1.5 mil-500,000 users or less would be great alternatives to the big meeting place of FB, yet the world of the net could support MANY more of them. With good aggregation and curation tools allowing users to set up custom feeds from their favorite networks, any one user MAY only belong to 2 or 3, but there might be 1000 niche Social networks to choose from.

    I think ALL of this can and WILL come to pass in 2011 as a lead up to a massive communications shift I believe will occur in 2012. Check out my thought on THIS subject here:

    Great article Mike!

  • lijo's picture
    Dec 31 Posted 6 years ago lijo

    I do agree with the saturation point, but Facebook such a big branded social network will not be ruined completely as it has overcome the issues what mypace and other petty social netoworking sites faced.

    Truly websites is not going to be a threat to social networking places, may be a more powerful widget kind of stuff that may enter the market



  • Dec 31 Posted 6 years ago Alicia Vaz (not verified)

    Hello Mike,

    I definitely agree with you. I've been talking a lot about tweeting with purpose and certainly believe that we'll reach a point of over saturation. I've asked myself on many occasions, what's the point. I feel like I'm part of a choir but we're all singing the same eloquent tune. I'd like my connection to be meaningful and of some real value, real experiences. Not saying that it's what has taken place thus far, because I've learn a lot from interacting with like-minded others. Twitter, Facebook and the like are all wonderful social media tools and has opening up endless opportunities for me to grow personally and professionally. I'm looking to move in another direction. Honing in on local target audience, understand their needs and look for opportunities to meet those needs.

    Looking forward to great things in 2011; curious to see how much of what you've stated is realized. Nice take!

  • Dec 31 Posted 6 years ago CraigMJamieson

    Great article Mike! Not only do I believe you to be spot on. I'm am praying that all this will come to pass :)



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