Augury, Predictions, and Prognostications in Social Media

This is the time of year when writers and editors everywhere are working on blog posts and articles about what social media experts are saying is going to be “the thing” for 2014.A vintage postcard that features a small child resting on the leaves of a plant having a celebratory glass of champagne for the New Year.

I’m not fond of the word “expert,” nor “guru,” “ninja,” or any other indicator that the titleholder possesses arcane knowledge. I do, however, consider myself a student of the phenomenon, and spend a lot of my waking hours studying and talking about social media. Thus – I am the recipient of a few of those requests for crystal ball gazing.

I take these requests seriously. Before crawling out of bed in the morning, I lie there, staring up at the ceiling. I continue the pondering during my morning ablutions, and while making the morning coffee. This is serious stuff.

Thinking back through the previous year: with a few exceptions, social media has been on a trajectory of sorts – big brands have been allocating more and more resources to social, doubling down on their investments. There have been some notable instances of content marketing – and thus, that whole notion of content as king is being taken quite seriously.

In the past, some new technology has come along and taken the world by storm; or at least the social media world. Remember 2007 when the iPhone made the cover of Time Magazine? Smart phone technology freed-up users of social media so that they truly could share their lives in real time. I didn’t see it coming!

Or the year that Pinterest launched and was discovered by wedding planning, feather-nesting, and dreaming-of-castles pinners? We’d already had several years of social media platform design patterns in the making. Photo galleries were always big – in fact, part of Facebook’s initial growth came about because of their handy photo gallery feature. But Pinterest – this creation of “boards” of photos – just seemed to really grab people’s imaginations. I didn’t see it coming, either.

Which suggests to me that I’m really not that good at seeing things coming. It also suggests to me that we are still in a rapid-innovation phase of social media; that new patterns of social media behavior are still to be designed.

There will also be a deepening of commitment to aspects of social media that are already in play. As more and more success stories are revealed, brands will expend some effort to find the major approaches to social media marketing that make sense for their brand and customers.

• Better and smarter processes for social media
• Allocation of more of the marketing budget to social media
• A focus on the creation of value through content marketing
• More use of social media advertising to boost natural engagement

If we study the history of social media – as brief as it is – we can make a guess that something will happen in this coming year: some new technologies or design patterns; some notable and interesting uses of social; and some embarrassing gaffes on the part of some brands. Beyond all of this, my crystal ball is fuzzy. Maybe I’ll switch to tea leaves.

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7 comments on “Augury, Predictions, and Prognostications in Social Media

Etela Ivkovic

I agree with all your points Ric.

I feel that brands will also be focusing a lot on mobile marketing, especially because mobile empowers social media users to share and engage any time and anywhere. Taking that a step further, I feel that focusing on understanding how people engage and interact on which social media platform and when they are consuming what type of content will be a great part of developing an effective content marketing strategy.

Stephen Nachreiner

To add to your point about “Creation of Value…”; I feel like there is going to be a rise in visual storytelling through short-form videos. Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat are all platforms that make videos incredibly easy to create and share content. Users want ads to be as short as possible with the highest amount of visual ques and stimulation.

    Ric Dragon (@RicDragon)

    I think you’re quite right, Stephen. Last year, I think it was in a McKinsey Consulting post – where they suggested executives themselves get comfortable making videos – and even learn to edit.


First, here’s my prediction for the PowerBall #’s for Saturday nght January 18th, 2014:

8 14 21 22 16 & Red Ball 3.

If they win, then you will know that my social media 2014 predictions & advice for success (below) are also true:

1) Major Monetization by the Platforms goes into Higher Gear – stop complaining, you knew it was their master plan all along – use paid promotions of your content diligently and it will be well worth the spend.
2) Big Time Mobile Traffic Increases – Get your mobile act together ASAP – ain’t no one gonna be carrying around a 27″ iMac like an old boom box on their way to work or play!!
3) Bad Websites Will Tank – Get the foundation of your web site up to speed for SEO, AND –
4) The Overabundance of Horrible Content will make an Opportunity for Quality Resourceful Creative Content to Rise to the Top – Break through all the expanding reverberating social media noise with excellent & engaging content – and get professional help with this – don’t just think that you are an excellent creative writer because you got a B+ on your 5th Grade book report, or a video expert because you document your daughter’s Saturday soccer game!! Put care & time into every post, every Tweet – one great item is better than 5 items as boring as listening to the guy sitting next to you on the plane tell the guy across the aisle all about his business meeting!

BUT – if you win over $$$$ 113 Million $$$$ playing my #’s in Power Ball on Saturday – why would you even care about any of my social media predictions anyway??

Paul O'Mahony

Ric – here’s another person whose past predictions provide no guarantee of future success. That never stopped a fool from joining the dance. (1) there will be ever more searching for stories (2) Pictures – images – will become more popular (3) sound will expand (4) imagination will continue to be in short supply (5) social forecasting will replace private forecasting (6) those businesses & CEOs that prove unable to grow communities will wither albeit slowly.
What a buzz it will be to listen to you at SOBCon at end of June.

    Ric Dragon (@RicDragon)

    Thanks, Paul! I’m so looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the SOBCon tribe. Of your predictions, I think the one about imagination trumps. But, OMG – what if everyone figures that out, and really starts focusing on creating great imaginative content – there’ll be too much incredible to consume. Then what? (morning musings)