As a Social Media and SEO firm in St. Louis, we are always looking for and trying to stay on top of all of the changes that social media sites make. In 2011 we saw Facebook introduce the Real-time Ticker, and the new profile Timeline. Google introduced its own social media network, Google+, which in turn has made many of its own updates including introducing Google+ Business pages. And Twitter, in the last couple weeks of the year, introduced a whole new, much more interactive, design to their site. At the beginning of 2011 it was hard to picture any of these introductions and updates. I can only imagine the type of changes and updates in store for 2012. But here are changes for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter that I think you should be on the lookout for!
Facebook is the type of company that is going to continually being making updates to their site, whether small or large, something seems to always be changing ( as we have experienced this past year.) As we enter 2012, who knows what Facebook has in store for us. But one thing is for sure, they are going to continue to change. I personally think as the year goes on, Timeline is going to become more and more prevalent on the entire site, not just our profiles. On certain days of the year, when people have had big events happen in the past, that is going to become part of our news feeds. Katie Smith got married on this day 5 years ago, or had a baby 7 years ago etc. Facebook will of course stay current with our news updates, but I also think its going to become more intertwined with all of our pasts. In ten years from now, when we look back through Facebook, (by that time many of us, including me will have been members of for almost 20 years) it will be pretty cool to have a virtual scrapbook of our pasts, old friends, and big milestones. Facebook is going to become more of our biographies than anything else. I also think that Facebook has to, and will release their own version of Google+ Hangouts. Group video chats with politicians, celebrities, or a group of friends, that anyone can join in. This is something they need to do to be able to continually compete with Google+.
Google+ has really been coming in to its own, and has made a very impressive showing in such a short amount of time as a social network, but what else would we expect from the search engine giant? Google+ has been rapidly growing since it came into existence, and they are constantly improving their network. In November they added Google+ Businesses Pages, which are already proving to be a necessity for businesses to have. We are beginning to see how much Google+ is going to be affecting search results, and this is only going to continue. As we go through 2012, Google is going to be all about personalized results. Meaning its going to use your Google+ account, and who you follow, to show you what you want to see in your search results. This already sort of happens, if you’re logged into your Google account you see the ability to +1 stuff and you see if you’re friends have +1’ed anything, but in the next couple of months, your search results are only going to be things you and your friends like. Its hard to predict the changes Google+ is going to make in the next year because they’re always ahead of the game, so it will be very interesting to see what other sorts of features they introduce.
Twitter has changed so much from when it first became popular. Before, it was just a place for your stream of consciousness in 140 characters or less. Now it is so much more dynamic and powerful than that. It is a force to be reckoned with. With the upcoming presidential election, more so than any of the other social media sites, Twitter is going to be a huge factor. There are now @Connect and #Discover tabs in the new Twitter design. The Connect tab shows your interactions with other twitterers, as well as suggestions of people for you to follow. The Discover tab is a real time news feed – it shows important and news worthy stories that people are talking about. With these new updates, Twitter is going to continue to become more of breaking news site than anything else. Like I said above, twitter is going to play a huge roll in the upcoming election. All of the candidates have a quick and instant way to reach people, which, as we’ve seen in the past, can also be a hindrance. One incorrect or insensitive tweet can cause so much damage to one’s reputation and in this case, their campaign, and I guarantee that will happen more than once with the republican candidates. One thing that I think Twitter is going to be changing soon, is there newsfeed. If you follow hundreds or even thousands of people, yours newsfeed becomes overwhelmed and jammed with unimportant tweets and information. We’re going to be able to pick and choose which twitterers show up more or less in our feeds, which will greatly enhance the Twitter experience. There are still people that I want to follow on twitter, but I’d much rather have the option of looking through their hourly tweets, than automatically having to read them.