Future of Social Media Sites
The current proliferation of social media sites is
the most pervasive phenomenon on the Internet today. Not since the
dot.com explosion has the there been an Internet trend that is so
widespread in its popularity. The comparison with the dot.com growth is
in fact one that is made by many industry observers, and while there
are a number of clear similarities, there are also some important
It is expected that by early 2008, all the various social media sites
will have more than 230 million members. That number is predicted to
grow until 2009, with a leveling off on the number of new members
expected by 2012.
The combined revenue from these sites, which in 2007 reached almost
$970 million, is estimated to balloon to a whopping $2.4 billion by
Membership growth in social media sites varies greatly from region to
region. The Asia Pacific region accounts for the lion’s share of users,
with 35% of the total users expected by the end of 2007. EMEA accounts
for about 28% of all users, North America follows closely with 25%
percent, and the Caribbean and Latin America trails behind with 12% of
With the inevitable crowding of the social media site industry, many
observers feel that consolidation of the market is a sure thing. This
has given rise to some predications that the smaller individual social
media sites will be swallowed up by the bigger players in the field.
Some experts feel however that this is not necessarily the case. In
particular, social media sites with a focus on special interests are
expected to survive the trend towards consolidation.
The extensive hype and excitement currently surrounding social media
sites is perhaps what inspires the comparison to the dot com boom, but
in the midst of all the buzz, there is a certain degree of trepidation
felt by many as well. While many investors are naturally excited about
the potential of social media sites, the fact that these types of web
sites have not been proven for the long term is causing some
hesitation. The promise of riding on the wave of the next big Internet
phenomenon is a tempting prospect, but it is tempered by the
uncertainty of social media sites as a long term sustainable industry.
The most cautious industry observers have even gone so far as to
suggest that most social media sites would do well to hold off on an
IPO for the time being.
The founder and chief executive of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has
officially stated that his despite his company’s spectacular growth,
Facebook is still many years away from flotation.
While there is no doubt that social media sites are a genuinely
groundbreaking innovation that is changing the way we communicate in
many significant ways, past experience with similar Internet phenomena
shows that the hyper charged atmosphere of excitement cannot last
indefinitely. The industry is currently characterized by easy capital,
plenty of media attention and widespread user curiosity–all of which
directly boosts creativity–but all that will come to an end eventually.
This does not mean that there is no future for social media sites. On
the contrary, the future is just as bright as ever and at this
relatively early stage of the game, it is hard to predict just how huge
the whole industry can get. What companies and investors should do
however is to adapt their approach to be prepared for the changes that
will inevitably come in the future.
In a report published in 2007, Ri Pierce of Grove Technology and an
analyst at U.K.-based Datamonitor has detailed a few suggestions that
will help companies deal with the changes. Many of these suggestions
revolve around understanding market strategies and various
One of the most important things that companies can do to roll with the
punches is formulate a two pronged approach to deal with the hothouse
atmosphere that the industry is currently experiencing as well as the
eventual cooling off that is sure to follow. This strategy will involve
companies becoming more heavily involved in establishing and
maintaining the infrastructure that is needed to run these types of web
sites. They would also do well to find effective means by which to
support social-networking services especially in the aspects of
scalability and availability.
As for the social media sites themselves, the most effective means of
ensuring continued popularity is through social media optimization.
There are a number of ways commonly used to do this but five rules have
been particularly effective in attaining this goal. Formulated by Rohit
Bhargava, these rules are: Increasing the linkability of your social
media site, making the tagging and bookmarking process easy for your
audience, rewarding inbound links, helping your content travel, and
finally encouraging mashups, which are web applications that combine
data from more than one source into a single integrated tool.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/internet-articles/future-of-social-media-sites-292955.html
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