Here is a technology prediction for 2011 that you can take with a grain of salt if you want. Social Media will become more open than it has ever been before and in return more people will join closed groups. What do I mean by this? Facebook data will integrate with your email data that will also sync with your clicks that you made on a short URL in Twitter that will go to an analytics firm attached to a large enterprise. (If it seems like I’m not typing English then I apologize. I will get to the point).
Real life example of what will happen in 2011 because of social media. You have liked a page on Facebook for Jiffy Peanut Butter. You are a big Jiffy fan and so are 36 of your friends on Facebook. You share a story from that page on Facebook to your wall and some of your other friends “liked” it or they shared it as well. Facebook will take that data and let other people now use it and let them analyze it. You then also click on a link in Twitter that takes you to a funny video of a Jiffy Peanut Butter jar dancing on YouTube. You laugh and think nothing about it. All of sudden the next day you receive a coupon in your inbox for $1 off Jiffy Peanut Butter to buy at Kroger. That coupon was far from a mistake but you will gladly use it.
That example is what I mean by Social Media being more open than it has ever been before. Now what do I mean by people joining closed groups then? One prime example of a very closed Social Media network is a up and coming one called Path. Path is a “personal network”. A place to share your life with close friends and family with the limit of 50 friends. This idea of a very closed network will increase in 2011 because of privacy issues and a backlash of having to many Twitter friends. OK, maybe not having to many Twitter friends but the desire to really connect with your “real” family and friends is there. By the way, is anyone on Path yet?
So what does this mean for you and your church? The church is not in the business of sending out $1 off coupons but how cool would it be if we were able to take those same tools and answer people’s questions about faith. Someone poses a question on Facebook about if God really loves them in this time or hardship and they have 20 friends that respond. That same person watches 5 videos on YouTube trying to figure out who God really is. The next day they receive an email of a message that your church did on apologetics or a message you did on hope. They listen to that message and show up to your online service or to your actual physical address and connect to a community that loves them.
How about the closed networks? People are searching for community and acceptance. They are looking at the digital world as much as they are physical world. Let us not forget who our neighbors are, even if those neighbors happen to live on the other side of the world. This idea of community on a smaller scale should fuel us to cherish those around us even more.
What do you think? Do you think I’m way off with what will happen in 2011 in Social Media? What are your predictions?