What's Next In Social Media Is Mobile Application Development
What’s Next In Social Media <br />Is Now And Mobile
What’s Next In Social Media
Is Now And Mobile

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.

Awesome Inc. Mobile Conference

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.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
  • Rob LaPointe

    Well said and I agree with most of the points @Jason, ultimately mobile and mobile apps wins in the nextgen and the industry is exploring. There is no point on depending on old things to drive back the business or connections via websites,social platforms redeem they are cost-effective but still people are affordable to get high end mobile phone so the technology growth is tremendous.Instead of thinking of who are not using it most business are started concentrating on people who are using it.Also on the other end no one is ready to sit back or wait to get results, so now its all should happen “on the go” we develop competitive mobile apps http://www.softwaredevelopersindia.com

  • Phillius Thomas

    The electronic cigarette is helpful to people who smoke. Maybe more things to do with these would be good in social media? http://radvapor.com

  • George Bresnan

    About social networking needs of the common public, I may not have a straightforward reply. However, in Enterprise Social Network there is a company named Mumba Cloud, which is based in Australia and making its customers worldwide due to quality of its services. http://www.mumbacloud.com/

  • Apprepro

    I agree that mobile development, particularly apps, is where it is going.  Businesses need to be taking themselves mobile and many other groups should be doing the same. 

    Apprepro is a Salt Lake City, Utah-based mobile application development firm.

  • In the same way that Facebook and Twitter changed the way people communicated, the mobile Facebook and Twitter are doing the same thing again. This really opens up new opportunities if we look at this closely. I think if we look at the trends of the past, we can predict what will happen in the future.

  • I don't think there will be any huge changes in social media for a while. There will be new sites and a few new features, but nothing ground breaking.

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  • Mobile homes are sometimes installed on concrete block foundations, and it can be difficult to determine whether the foundations are mounted below the frost level, because the crawl spaces are normally back-filled to grade level.

  • I like to use social media but I need some more apps with these sites.

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  • Good article and I fully agree that mobile is a platform with enormous potential. I hope with more and more smartphones around, that companies and consumers will see it's advantages.

    Can this be seen in comparison with mp3 vs. sacd/dvd-audio? There was a battle about sound quality a while back. Cd's had been around for a while and it was time to find something new. So the though that if they made it better quality, even 5.1 surround, it would get people to buy more. But this was just at the time when filesharing, broadband and mp3 players came for the average consumer. It turned out accessible won. People wanted something that was easy to use. Can it be that by going mobile the web will be more accessible/easier for the average consumer?

    • I think there is a valid comparison there, for sure, but also think that the
      technology has caught up so much in just the last year with smart phones
      that the user doesn't necessarily have to sacrifice quality anymore. I watch
      videos on my iPhone from time to time and am amazed at the clarity and
      sound. But I do think you're right. Consumers will have a lesser expectation
      than perfection and those that capitalize on it will profit. Thanks for the

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  • I completely agree with you that mobile is the next big thin. First of all it enables companies to extend their products and services to a very personal device that is prevalent in both first and emerging economies with or without extensive Internet penetration. This is significant.

    The biggest challenge however is the device fragmentation that developers have to deal with. It doesn’t make sense to focus on just one platform, you want to be able to cover all of them!

    If you take the traditional development approach to this you will require a team for each platform! A team for iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Nokia etc, this gets very expensive very quickly.

    So the challenge is to have one development effort for all platforms.

    • Well said, Peter. Thanks for the comment.

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  • Hey Jason, I couldn't agree with you more. Mobile development is growing faster than people think it is. Take RAMP for example. Most companies are fighting for the smart phone operating system market and they are forgetting that the everyday person on the street is still using feature phones.

    RAMP is a mobile app development platform that you and your comsumer can use on almost any feature phone and smart phone. You can also use it on 7 different platforms.

    I think they've got their figures on the ball :) http://ramp.virtualmobiletech.com/

  • Jason

    Mobile is going to grow unbelievably this year. A few months back I had said to someone that within a few years we all will have to have a iphone or something similar just to be able function. The iphone and Droid came on so fast and when people were still trying to figure out social media or and wondering if they should have their site in a CMS so they could write a blog.

    You are right that mobile is already happening but not anywhere near what we will see this year and next year. It is an extension of our computers and how we communicate in this socially advanced arena. I still think that in time everyone will need a phone that has apps just to function. Think back 10-15 yrs ago did we all feel the same about cell phones as a whole? Can we function without a cell phone, yes but in th same way that we did years ago, no. Life was more equipped with other means (remember pay phones??) where now no phone, no means of communication.

    Now if I was only a developer!


    • Awesome thoughts Suzanne. Thanks for sharing them.

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  • janiceclark

    I'm enjoying what I've read so far. I intend to use it as a reference book, the kind that will sit dog-eared on my desk for a long time. I'm recommending it to friends and colleagues who want to learn from the ground up how to use social media for business. Thanks for all that you share with us.

    • Thanks Janice. That's awfully nice of you to say.

  • iancleary

    Thanks Jason. A friend of mine is 100% convinced that companies should have a special mobile version of their website. Hopefully there will be some smart software coming out that will automatically produce a mobile suitable version! I 100% agree with you regarding mobile. I read that there are predicted sales of 115 Billion on mobile devices by 2015!
    Enjoy the week-end. Ian

  • iancleary

    Hi Jason,
    I think the big change coming with social media is distributed shopping. We all know that increasingly people are relying on their friends/partners etc for recommendations on where to buy and what to buy. Soon users will not go near companies brochure websites to buy products. They'll want to buy everything within their social network. So companies that only sell their product through their own website will be in trouble. It's like a company not having a presence online and less people coming to their shop. Their website is their online shop and people will stop coming to it. I'm a bit biased in this area because of development work we're doing in this area, however, the reason we're doing it is because we believe it.

    I also agree with you regarding mobile, it's going to be huge and it will the main device used by everyone eventually instead of laptops and pc's.

    By the way, I really like four square and I hope it will take some of twitter market and push twitter do improving their platform.

    I think twitter has some value but twitter as a company really annoy me because they are so slow moving. If they were only able to move quicker with their technology that would improve their platform that would be fantastic.

    A long reply, easy know it's a saturday when I've more time on my hands!


    • Good thoughts, Ian. Thanks for that. I think the point that shopping will be
      done via mobile is an overriding outtake here. Yes, distributed shopping may
      be a big change coming, but it won't happen well without mobile. The
      technology will fuel it, meaning communicators need to worry about function
      as much (if not more) than form.

      • iancleary

        Thanks Jason. A friend of mine is 100% convinced that companies should have a special mobile version of their website. Hopefully there will be some smart software coming out that will automatically produce a mobile suitable version! I 100% agree with you regarding mobile. I read that there are predicted sales of 115 Billion on mobile devices by 2015!
        Enjoy the week-end. Ian

        • Actually, if you run anything in WordPress, there's a plugin called
          MobilePress that does just that.

          • iancleary

            Cool, thanks for that. A very useful plugin!

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  • SoMo only makes sense. If you are to be social; communicating, sharing media and opinion, the environment, home, work or anywhere else, is the last factor to prohibit. Access, content/interaction and then environment are the key components of The Social Evolution that is happening right now. As the content/integration components become increasingly rich and diverse, look to see the access and environment components expand.

    • Good thoughts, there Ocean. Thanks for the comment.

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  • Watch what good OFFLINE customer service and experiences will do to brand perception and engagement. The thing that's about to change more than anything is…behavior. You are correct in assessing that mobile will be the key player or main change-ingredient of “what's next.” Content will become the thread to-unravel and new influencers are about to arrive on the scene as they will be liberated to share offline opinions and observations from their pockets. Equal attention must be paid forward to the technology and the shift to being productive beyond the home, the cube or office while living life the way you want, when and where.

    • Spoken like a guy who know a thing or two about it. Heh. Thanks Tim.

  • ElizL

    Agreed – companies need to start focusing on perfecting their SM strategies rather than getting their feet wet in every single social media site available. Right now it's more of a competition to see who can blog the most, who can get the most followers, who can get the most fans, ect. But what REALLY matters and what people need to start concentrating on, the quality of your posts matter and how good the conversations are between you and your target market.

    • I'd go a step further, Elizabeth. What matters most is the value you provide
      to your online audience. It could be posts, service, coupons … anything.
      But you're dead on. That value provision is what wins you friends and
      influences people … to borrow a term. Thanks for the comment.

  • Agree with you that the focus of companies should be on mobile in the near future. I would also say that a next trend should be the optimization of customer service on the web (no matter if from desktop or mobile). Most companies still have not understood what it means to service customers on the social web. If you contact them on twitter, they don't respond. If you give them input on facebook, other fans might answer but the company is quiet. Sustainable open customer service communication still is a big challenge for companies. I think there is a lot that companies can improve in term sof social customer service… and this should be the next big thing. Don't you think?

    • I can agree with that, Martin. I think the biggest hurdle most large
      companies face, however, is scalability with customer service. That, and the
      fact most customer service functions are tracked and measured using their
      enterprise level contact management software (most of which don't account
      for or integrate social CRM yet) puts up some roadblocks. It will be slow
      going for many, but you're right … they'll start migrating there soon.

  • Africanasoul

    Hi Jason, i believe in what you said: a mobile developer is who serious public relations professionals need now. If they want to create value for their clients it needs to support the marketing strategy with a killer application choosing the right technology, open source or proprietary nevermind.
    Don't you really think people feel classic site-shaped structure too much tight so they switch to social network to find easy and useful applications, share content, talk each other, i would say a complete experience?

    • There's certainly something very liberating about getting out of that old
      800X600 box, for sure. Mobile apps do take your customers to a place where
      function trumps form. And I think that's a good thing. Thanks for the

      • Africanasoul

        Liberate the user!! that's the right new term for winning the mobile challenge…


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