There's been a euphoric halo around all things social. Stick social in front of any word today and it sells: social networks, social business, social software, social media, social CRM, etc, etc, etc. There must be a bubble like the internet of 1999. Except there is no bubble, the hype of all things social is indeed real and 2011 has come to a close. No question that in 2012 anything social will remain hot -- as long as it’s tied to mobile.
Location, Location, Location
While the “So” and the “Mo” in SoLoMo remain headlines in the 2012 digital world, I’m not as convinced that the “Lo” (Location) is all the rage as we’d like to think. It really should be SoMoLo if it's ranked in order of importance. FourSquare is just in its infancy and has potential. Yet the action of voluntarily “checking-in” hasn’t exactly become mainstream and will take many more years before it is. Individual discovery of places, people and things offers value to all of us. While there are some benefits, discounts or coupons to be offered, there are just not enough incentives to let other people or businesses know where we are 24-7. The images of the movie Minority Report will likely be part of our future, however the majority of us still value what little privacy we have.
It Comes Down to Data
SoLoMo will continue to be written and talked about because it’s about the understanding of human behavior. It’s about the convergence of data points that previously were incredibly difficult to track. My preferences (i.e. “likes”) combined with my location and my status on any particular day and time offer a Nielsen-like ratings box in my pocket tracking much more than my TV viewing habits. The type and amount of data that is collected (or should I say volunteered by individuals) is really what this euphoria is all about. At the end of the day, most executives care about making decisions based on data. This is why 2012 is the year when our attention shifts from the euphoria of all things social to what data can I collect about you? It's BIG DATA and what information is being tracked about you? What insights can Big Brother gain from all the big data they are collecting about our human behaviors? Will we have any privacy left in this world or do we have to live “off the grid” completely?
Social Cuts Through the Noise
You see social is the tip of the spear. As the tip of the spear, social allows us to slice through the noise of the web and aggregate information. Social targets messages and allows people to subscribe to relevant information that is important to them. And of course, social offers a way to publish and share with our networks. In order for all this human data to be collected in real time, mobile devices provide the Nielsen box in our pockets. Location is part of the spear and can help us discover people, places and information as easy as a Google search.
Ultimately Big Data is where we find real value in SoLoMo. And 2012 will mark the age of Big Data as we know it.
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