It seems like the one question I inevitably get from people around the country is, “What’s next?” There’s always an implication that they mean, “Which social network is the next Twitter or the next Facebook?” My answer is normally that I don’t know that there will be a next Facebook or Twitter. Sure, there might be, but I see the Web 2.0 boom settling down and becoming more about consolidation than more companies popping up to stake a claim on user’s time.
Instead of worrying about whether or not Foursquare is the next big thing, I think social media marketers, public relations professionals and communicators should focus on the technology. The networks and applications won’t change much. Sure, you need to watch them, understand them, and find ways to communicate, provide value to those communities and so on, but the next big thing will be predicated on function, not form.
If I had to pick one “next big thing” I would say that it’s already happening and it’s mobile. Smart phones happened fast. Because of the open source culture of the web and Apple’s ability to come to its senses and let any developer build applications for their iPhone platform, the technology got ahead of the users. Instead of playing with a machine we couldn’t visualize how to use, we suddenly had easy apps that did real things for us literally at our finger tips.
Web development was the next big thing in 1998. Community development was the next big thing in 2008. Mobile development is the next big thing now, and it’s already happening.
Do yourself and your company a favor and mark down these dates and locations and send your most likely candidate to be a mobile developer to one of the MobileX conferences coming to Columbus, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville and Lexington, Ky. You (or they) will learn from some awesome mobile thinkers already doing it.
MobileX is coming to Columbus, Ohio, on March 4; Chicago, Ill., on March 5; Atlanta, Ga., on March 26; Nashville, Tenn., on March 27 and Lexington, Ky., on April 16. It’s run by my buddies Brian and Luke from Awesome, Inc., in Lexington who put together a pilot mobile event last year that produce some awesome learning and thinking. I toured Awesome, Inc., with Luke in April of last year.
The events are one-day mind-blowing learning sessions, collaborations and even contests. You get to learn, but you get to do as well. Plus you meet some talent folks to perhaps partner with down the road. For more on their pilot event, check out the recaps on the Awesome, Inc., site.
To learn more about the lineups for each of the upcoming events check out the agendas and speakers for:
On each site’s page you can register to attend. Early bird pricing is only $60!
And my boys hooked me up with a little discount code, too. So when prompted drop in “ainc10″ for a 10% off deal. I don’t get anything from the sales of the tickets, but have told Brian and Luke I’ll gladly tell people about the events. I think they’re going to tell people I’m a sponsor in return, but no money is exchanging hands here. I’d recommend MobileX even if I got no benefit out of it because I think mobile is next and the collaborative nature of these events makes them invaluable.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think is next in social media? Is mobile it or is it something else? As always, the comments are yours.