2014 Social Media Outlook Recap

27 Feb 2014 Social Media Outlook Recap

Yesterday I braved the snow to attend Social Media Outlook 2014 put on by Potomac Tech Wire, Siteworx, and theFairfax County Economic Development Authority. As this was my first post-grad social media specific event, I was really excited to see what is new and where media experts see things going.

From the beginning of the keynote by Rohit Bhargava, I was blown away. We all like to think of ourselves as experts in the field, but events like this make me remember that there is so much more to learn and social media platforms and techniques are evolving every day.

Rohit walked the audience through 7 of the 15 trends in his annual “Non-Obvious Trend Report.” As the author of five best selling books and founder of the Influential Marketing Group, it’s safe to say that Rohit knows what he’s talking about when it comes to marketing and PR and he delivered a great presentation.

Here are a few of my favorite trends from Rohit:

Culture and Consumer Behavior

Desperate Detox

Perhaps not a trend so much as an unfortunate fact, Rohit pointed out that the world (the younger generation in particular) is developing a sense of nomophobia. Don’t know what that means? Neither did I. Nomophobia is the fear of not having your phone with you and probably stems from FOMO, which I recently learned means the fear of missing out. Seriously who comes up with these things?

But when you think about it, it makes sense. The internet and mobile technology keeps us constantly connected and seeking new ways to connect. So much so, that “digital detox” campaigns and events are coming up all over the world to force the hyper connected to slow down.

Obsessive Productivity

Because of our obsessive attachment to technology, in every moment we try to find ways to be more productive. We’re constantly searching for tools and apps to make our lives easier and faster.

Rohit’s point here was that becoming more productive is the ultimate obsession of professionals, and social media is constantly evolving to be the next tool to help you reach that goal.

Marketing and Social Media

Branded Utility

Social media is becoming a great tool for thought leadership. Rohit used the example of Weber publishing books about grilling. You read the book to learn how to grill and when it’s time to purchase a grill you buy from who you know. Weber.

He explained that utility itself is becoming a theme within marketing and being a unique thought leader via social media is an important factor for eventually driving business.

Media and Education Trends 

Curated Sensationalism

In recent years, the way we tell stories has completely changed. The line between news, pop culture, and human interest has completely blurred, leaving traditional news outlets flooded with more “fluffy” content. Brands can now manufacture sensationalism in their content to make it more interesting and readable.

One great example of curated sensationalism is Buzzfeed. With headlines like “Google’s War on Email” and “Someone Actually Walked off a Pier Because They Were Too Busy Checking Facebook,” they make it hard NOT to click. Another great example Rohit touched on was Upworthy who has a great talent for taking seemingly mundane headlines like “Yellen Sworn in as New Fed Chair” and morphing them into headlines like, “Her Husband Just Won a Nobel Prize but She Just Became a WAY Bigger Deal.” Really, which would you rather read? 

Distributed Expertise

This was one of the most fascinating trends to me. Because the internet makes it so easy to post and access information the concept of expertise itself is shifting. Now expertise is more inclusive and less limited to academia and credentials. The rise of sites like Pinterest, Contently, PopExpert, and Plated make it so easy to share information and knowledge that really anyone can be an expert.

Rohit had some great insight and I encourage anyone interested in the 2014 outlook to check out the full 2014 Non-Obvious Trend presentation here.

 Following the keynote, there was a great panel discussing social media trends, forecasts, platforms, and ideas. Panelists included Kevin Alansky, CMO of Social Radar, Rohit Bhargava, Peter Corbett founder and CEO of iStrategyLabs, Leigh George VP in Oglivy’s Social@Oglivy practice, and moderator Paul Sherman, Publisher of Potomac Techwire.

I really enjoyed Social Media Outlook 2014 and look forward to attending similar events in the future!

Sally McHugh
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