Trend #7: Social Media’s Impact Continues

Whether you’re connecting with old high school students, sharing pictures of what happened last weekend with friends or are one of these crazy people who are addicted to something called Farmville, everyone in the world has encountered social media in 2009. The popularity and addiction will continue, but we should all expect new developments in the world of social media.

Companies will leverage social media to new levels: Here at Zapwater, we’ve always been ahead of the curve with social media. We’ve managed our clients’ involvement and help them monitor and leverage social media to their advantage. Whether it’s a Barton Healthcare electronic newsletter, RA Sushi successfully promoting new menu items/ specials /events (TWITTER or FB page) or our client who’s filming the upcoming Dear Mr. Gacy movie here in Chicago (, more and more companies and institutions are realizing the value and reach of social media. It totally levels the playing field and allows small to mid-size companies to compete with the big boys in their space. As users, we should anticipate receiving more specials offers and virtual coupons from vendors and retailers. If you’re looking for a job, you better also update your Linkedin account because it holds more ground than a resume with recruiters and hiring managers these days, at any level.

Social Media policies implemented: If they haven’t already, companies will also develop social media policies for their employees, governing or even blocking when they can access their social media fixes, just like how instant messengers and YouTube were blocked years ago. Employers may also start to restrict and enforce what content can be shared, as to not disclose sensitive information or leaks to company performance or happenings. Zapwater has helped some companies develop their own customized policies, but you can Google Sun Microsystems’ and IBM’s for some good examples.

Social media becomes even more mobile: Since companies are banning more social media tools at work, employee smoke-breaks and lunchbreaks may now turn to social media breaks. Smartphone companies are loving this, as bandwidth on iphones skyrocket and droidphones start jumping off shelves this holiday season, to handle all the video sharing that’s going to increase in 2010. We’ve said bye to the bag phone, the Zack Morris brickphone, the flip, the Razr and does anyone remember the Chocolate? BlackBerry seems to be hanging on, keeping up with new products every year (droid and Storm). Heck, when I represented RIM it had an orange screen. Maybe if they listen to our intern Michael, they should bring it back.
Social Media will become global: Studies are showing Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and MySpace (is anyone even on that anymore?) are working on breaking down the language barriers with translation capabilities. This will open up the sea of leveraging social media to market global brands to overseas consumers, so looking forward to how that plays out.

Less email, more personal?: Phone calls turned to faxes. Faxes turned to emails, and emails turned to texts. Well, texts are still around, but ‘Tweeting’ and ‘Facebooking’ seem to be becoming the communication choice of many. I’d like to leave you with one thought though….people complain that conversations and interactions, whether personal or business, over time have become less personal (phone call to a email, now “I’ll send you a text”) With social media, somehow people feel the technology brings some personalization back? What do you think?

Kevin Metz
Vice President