Social Media, Future Trends

Lisa Hickey quickly highlights a few changing trends she sees in the Social Media landscape.

These days, I tend to start talking about social media with “Tweets I Like”. And naturally, these tweets are all about Good Men Project.

To many people, social media seems so new it’s hard to believe it’s already changing. But changing it is, and I am going to quickly highlight a few things I see.

Facebook, if you are reading up on it in articles like “I want my friends back” and “Broken on purpose?” is no longer showing your status updates to as many people — according to some sources, less than 15% of the people that used to see posts now do.  This is especially true for  business pages, but also for personal pages. If you post things on your own Facebook page that are always from the same URL – and it doesn’t matter if it’s GMP or the NYTimes – they will only show that content to 15% of the people they did before. They continue to show personal content to everyone in your stream. They want to get more businesses to pay for promoting links, so eventually you can expect to see paid business links in between what your friends are talking about. It is my belief this was Facebook’s plan all along. If you think about it, it is exactly the same as TV commercial advertising. In both places, you see content you like (assuming you like TV and Facebook). On TV it’s paid programming and on Facebook it’s news and updates from your friends. And on TV – that programming content gets interrupted by TV commercials. On Facebook, those status updates get interrupted by paid links.

This gets back to something I’ve talked about in my very first public speaking engagements on social media. It’s that “Advertising mirrors the media it appears in”. On TV, you have 30 seconds of actors and actresses acting out a storyline, with a musical button and credits at the end. It’s a mini version of a typical show that has actors and actresses acting our a storyline. And on Facebook you have people posting news and photos and status updates that are of interest to you. So a commercial interruption in this case is a business who posts news and photos and status updates that are of interest to you. The fact that the business if paying for it makes it advertising. Facebook wants you to believe that every thing in your stream is valuable to you. And they don’t even want you to know what is paid and what is not. And they are really close to doing that.

One of the implications to this is – especially if you are using Social Media to create your own brand – don’t rely on any one network do to so. Because things change. And the best way to adapt to that change is to have multiple strategies. (If you’d like to read more about how advertising mirrors the media it’s a post I wrote a while ago is Advertising is Dead, Long Life Advertising.)

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For Google, the new trend is that Authors will begin to be ranked the same way Pages have been ranked with Google PageRank. Think about that for a moment. You, as an author, can have more or less credibility with Google’s search algorithm depending on how Google sees you. And it will see you differently depending on your total social network connections as well as how you interact with Google. You can read more about the specifics in this article: How to Prepare for AuthorRank and Get the Jump on Google.

Google wants you to sign up A quick thing to note is that the changes Google is making means it could be helpful to press the +1 button (conveniently located on the bottom of every post) on as many articles as possible. Yours and others, on any site you go to. If you press the +1 button – not only will you increase the visibility of that particular article, but google will see you as more of an authority because you are active on Google. Also — you want an easy way to help your posts on GMP out on Google  — go here: gplus.to/goodmenproject

The thing *I* like about Google+ is that it has a push feature. That is, you can sort people into circles, pick which circles make most sense for a particular article and then have people in that circle get that article by email. You can’t really do that with Facebook or Twitter. I also use that feature a lot when I am looking for content. Someone will email me something via Google+, and I can quickly tell by the title whether I would like it or not. If not, I just delete.

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We don’t talk about LinkedIn much here because it’s not so much a media channel as an online Rolodex (“What’s a Rolodex?” I can hear you youn’uns saying). But what LinkedIn is trying to do is to eliminate resumes completely. So the idea is that you would never need a resume again – you would only need a LinkedIn profile. I’m pretty sure they will accomplish that. The other thing to note is that some Business Schools will not let students graduate until they have, say 50 connections on LinkedIn. And professional network you start now is one of the best insurance policies you can have in a down economy.

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You may not like that that’s the way the world is going — that the big social networks are trying to control the way people are interacting with them — they are becoming more and more like big media companies. But that’s the way the world is going.

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Twitter. My personal fave, although I will say that as a traffic driver for us it is a distant third behind Google and Facebook. But Twitter is quick, Twitter is fun, and on Twitter, as I mentioned, they say nice things about us. So let me just run some numbers by you. Twitter works better when you have a lot of followers. You can get a lot of followers by either a) buying them (NOT recommended) b) already having a brand name that is out there in popular culture c) being uproariously funny. Or – you can connect with and follow a lot of people. It takes me 1 minute to follow 25 people on Twitter. 4 minutes to follow 100. Out of those 100, at least 30 will follow back – sometimes up to 70. And at least 1 of every 100 Twitter followers turns into gold – that is, someone valuable I can count on for the long term. I am still friends with many of the very first people I connected with on Twitter – and when I need them to help, they step up and help. (And I, of course, do likewise.)

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Pinterest, Reddit and StumbleUpon – if you really are interested in getting a wide audience for your work, I’d suggest signing up for ALL of those. For me, Pinterest is like walking into an art museum, saying “ahhh” and walking out. Reddit is like chatting with your quirky uncle about all the weird stuff in the world. StumbleUpon is like a Vegas slot — when you hit it, you hit it big. All it takes to get the experience you want with those sites is to organize them a little up front. But I have no trends to talk about with those — other than to say curation of information will become increasingly important in years to come — so we will save them for another day.

Please share your experiences with me, or tell me if you think I’m wrong.

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About Lisa Hickey

Lisa Hickey is CEO of Good Men Media Inc. and publisher of the Good Men Project. "I like to create things that capture the imagination of the general public and become part of the popular culture for years to come." Connect with her on Twitter.

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