February 14, 2012

Trends shaping social media

Posted by: in North America

To help kick off Social Media Week in New York, JWTIntelligence’s Ann Mack, Director of Trendspotting at JWT, outlined trends that are shaping social media in 2012. (Video from the event, featuring a keynote speech by David Eastman, CEO North America and Worldwide Digital Director at JWT, is available here.)

Mack noted that today, young people are looking to figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Larry Page as role models and embracing entrepreneurialism. This uniquely resourceful cohort, one we’ve termed Generation Go, is finding opportunity in economic adversity, with many using social media as a platform for their entrepreneurial energies.

This generation has also embraced conspicuous living, clamoring to show and tell all, no matter how personal, over social media. As they share photos and updates about their vacations and other envy-inducing activities, they’re engaging in social one-upmanship, creating fears of missing out, or FOMO (which we explored in a trend report last year). Social media, in tandem with mobile devices and location-based tools, has also helped to drive the Web’s evolution into a constantly updating stream of real-time information. We’ve become hyper-documentarians, chronicling everything—the big, the small and everything in between—in words, pictures, video and emoticons as it happens. The numbers just keep rising: The top two tweets-per-second records were set recently with the Japanese TV screening of Castle in the Sky and in the final minutes of last month’s Super Bowl).

Meanwhile, social media has become key to everything from social change—as evidenced by its role in last year’s Arab Spring—to commerce, with more and more brands selling directly on Facebook or overlaying its social graph. Social media also creates a “filter bubble” for people that helps to hyper-personalize the Web’s content—giving rise to a countertrend that will see people craving more randomness and serendipity, or different points of view. We’ll see more services like Turntable.fm and Yobongo, which make it fun to discover new music or people.

Social Media Week runs in New York and 11 other cities worldwide through Friday.

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