Published on January 28th, 2012 | by Matthew Murray8
6 predictions for the web and social media in 2012
In April 2000, I’d just started my first job as a web designer in Dudley in the West Midlands. I was searching for some information on Google when our webmaster looked over my shoulder and snarled “Google is shite! Alta Vista is the only search engine that will survive the dot com boom!”
We can’t all be right with our predictions. Nevertheless, here are mine for 2012 – I’ll start with 3 social networks to watch in 2012 and finish off with 3 general predictions.
Online pinboard Pinterest will go mainstream around the World. It’s already one of the most popular social networks in that US, yet it’s still in ‘invitation only’ open beta.
Brands such as Gap, The Travel Channel, Etsy and Mashable have already joined the fray, how long before government gives it a try?
I’ve managed to score an invite but haven’t had much time to play round with it yet. Let me know if you’d like an invite, my contact details are on the About page.
Popular photo sharing social network app Instagram will triple its user base from 15 million to 45 million by the end of 2012. An Android version is in development and there are rumours of a Windows phone version too.
Stay tuned for a further blog post on Instagram soon.
Mobile app Path will double in popularity this year, from 300,000 to 600,000 users. It describes itself as a “smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love”.
In practical terms, this means sharing photos, videos, where you are, what you’re doing, what you’re thinking and even what music you’re listening to with a small private network of your closest family and friends.
This kind of private social network is a niche market that I think will steadily rise over the next couple of years.
4) Passive sharing will increase but there will be a backlash
Passive sharing of what we’re reading or listening to is becoming part of the Facebook experience. One minute you’re having a look at an article on a social reading app such as those offered by newspapers The Guardian, The Independent and Washington Post. The next minute, every single one of your 600 close and personal Facebook friends knows what you’ve been doing.
Billy read an article on Washington Post Social Reader “Mother raped own daughter for ‘sex education'”.
Do we really want our friends to know every newspaper article we ever read, especially if they’re of that kind of nature?
Another issue is that there is no context around this kind of sharing. For example, if I read an article criticising Israeli foreign policy, will my friends jump to the conclusion that I am anti-Israeli just because Facebook shared with them the title of the article I read?
5) Google Chrome
Google Chrome will become the most used browser on the planet.
6) It’s all about apps
With the huge numbers of smartphones being sold around the World, the amount of apps we download and use will continue to rise.
A recent article on ZDNet reported that as of December 2011, use of mobile apps already outstrips web use in the US by 22 minutes per day.
Various government agencies in Australia, Canada, the UK and the US have already rolled out mobile apps – I’m expecting to see a lot more this year.