by karen on January 11, 2012

Exciting times as we enter 2012; having seen more developments than we could shake a stick at in 2011, this year is already shaping up to be the most dynamic yet for the internet and for social media.

This infographic from Barry Ritholtz, via Business Insider, gives a fascinating snapshot into ‘Incredible Things That Happen on the Internet Every 60 Seconds’.

Trending particularly, the rise of mobile devices is set to transform the way we use the internet to communicate, work and play, and in doing so, to consume a range of media, all via a single piece of equipment and (if we so desire) whilst on the move.

Commercially, this has huge implications for e-commerce, with a scramble among organisations to optimise their websites for different devices (i.e. mobiles, tablets). Expect also to see more developments in ‘cash-free’ shopping and the use of mobiles and smart payment mechamisms.

A strong focus also continues for the use of social media in organisations to facilitate effective internal communications, bringing employees together and to encourage conversations, suggestions and debate. However, some resistance remains to opening up such channels amid concerns about security, negative posts and potential abuse (especially in the case of employees external social media platforms).

More progressively-minded organisations have already observed that the benefits of such communications far outweigh any risks, and have already legislated for this with the careful use of clear social media policies and guidelines, leading the way by placing trust in their employees. Expect also to see more on the issue of trust in this context, and one which resonates particularly with Gen Y employees (who are often being recruited using social media campaigns, only to find that use of these same channels is prohibited once they join the organisation).

Social media channels continue to edge forward in capability, the Facebook vs Google Plus battle continues, with Google Plus continuing to see an uplift in usage. Other platforms including LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are developing new services and tools in response to the competition and their users’ needs. Facebook is predicted to float sometime during 2012, which has huge implications for its funding and development work. It will be fascinating to see which other platforms emerge, which achieve the greatest growth this year, and which ones may fall by the wayside.

At best, social media is the most brilliant word-of-mouth mechanism for creating conversations and engaging people, bringing communities together, developing business, raising awareness of good causes and uniting those in need of resources with those who supply them. At worst, used unwisely and without a sense of timeliness, it can generate distress and upset, create libellous comment and affect confidence in the economy and commerce.

Let’s hope that the balance in 2012 is firmly in favour of the positives…




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