The Top Social Media Predictions for 2014

The Top Social Media Predictions for 2014
By Jessica Oaks

Anticipating the direction social media will take can be tough because as much as company heads and stockholders would like to shape the way we use social, it has a habit of evolving organically. We might drive change in the social sphere, but social media changes us too. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make a few educated guesses about what the not-so-distant future of social will look like.Here’s just some of what you’ll see in the social sphere in 2014:

Social Going Fully Mobile

Gone are the days when logging into Facebook meant sitting down at a computer. Cheap cell phone plans with big, or unlimited, data allotments mean people are accessing social media accounts anywhere and anytime. Just half a year ago, Facebook revealed that 78% of US users are accessing the site via mobile devices so that’s nothing new. But it’s still a surprise to see how we’re increasingly turning to phones and tablets to check in with virtual friends even when there’s a computer handy. Expect to see more people curled up on couches with phones in hand in 2014.

Tumblr (Possibly) Tanking

At least, that’s the word on the street. The microblogging platform was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013 thanks to a user base of over 150 million strong but, Tumblr recently removed its traffic reports from measurement service Quantcast and that has some people worrying. But before you write off Tumblr as the next MySpace, consider that comScore shows the site’s unique monthly page views holding steady over the year, and its mobile user base may be growing. That said, if Tumblr doesn’t go the way of the dodo in 2014, rest assured that at least one major social site will be the victim of social media Darwinism.

Facebook Changing

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has implied that his brainchild will be around forever, and while that may be true, the landscape is changing fast. Social media managers are seeing their reach and fan engagement dropping with each new day as Facebook pushes its ‘promoted’ (read: paid) posts model. Whether companies and marketers will embrace the new paradigm in 2014 has yet to be seen, but we’ll definitely be logging into a different kind of Facebook. And sharing it with a different kind of audience. The site may still be top dog, but it’s been deemed uncool by the next generation of users, i.e., teens.

Management Evolving

Companies and organizations that once had a single dedicated community manager are now requiring social shout outs from customer service reps to finance wizards to IT grunts. Could that mean one trick social pro ponies are going to find themselves sans employment in 2014? Maybe. One sign pointing to yes is that numbers of job listings with ‘social media’ in the title and description are growing more slowly than they once did, and more listings are looking for professionals with skills beyond social. Expect to see demand for social skills go up in every area of the business world, but remember, specialization is for insects.

Universal Innovation and Adoption

If the question is who will be leveraging the power of social in 2014, the answer is everyone. Tweeting in class may be a no-no, but schools are going to adopt the kinds of collaborative tech that is driven by social media. Social advertising will be taking over the spot in our psyches where TV ads used to live. Video sharing and creation is going to hit the big time if Snapchat’s thriving 13-25 year old demo is any indication. People will be using social media in ways that will surprise you.

And finally, one more prediction: as innovation happens across channels, we’ll finally, sadly, be paying for it. One way or another.

Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.

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