Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The future of Social Media: 5 years out.


Jeremiah Owyang recently posted a question on his Web Strategist blog.

The question was,

"Where you think the future of White Label Social networks is headed over the next 5 years, and why you back up that prediction?"

I happened to post a comment on the blog that I thought it would be good to share with everyone. So, here is my 5 year market prediction for White Label social media as a market.

1. Consolidation: As with any new market, software, more than most, it is rife with competition. Currently this is a good thing for the buyer because competition pushes price down and quality up. It forces people to innovate and go the extra mile. However, as was seen in virtually all software markets, it will plateau and the space will begin to consolidate with mergers, acquisitions and closings. I predict this will begin within 24 months and we are already seeing signs of it.

2. Commoditization: - The market will experience some degree of commoditization as innovation wears thin. Competitors will begin trying to cannibalize the market share of their competitors as well as their feature sets.

3. Segmentation - The market will likely segment as well. As with many products, solutions will begin to specialize and cater to different verticals such as health care, B 2 C and media. We are already seeing signs of this in the market today, but right now it is safer to be all things to all people. Within 18 months many solutions will begin to specialize to provide solutions to a niche space.

4. Innovation: Of course, the space will begin to evolve to a great degree as has occurred in all software spaces. For Social Media, I believe this will likely focus on incorporating Web 3.0, or semantic web technologies. As users of social media begin to create exponentially larger sets of data, finding the right answers to questions without a painstaking search will become absolutely critical. Semantic web and advanced search technologies will likely be the answer to this problem.

If nothing else I hope that this is somewhat interesting.

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