Itâ€™s the season for predictions and here are my top 7 social media predictions for India
1. Citizen journalism will come into its own in India.
We saw a preview of the power of citizen journalism in the 11/26 Mumbai terror attack. We also saw that mainstream media is increasingly willing to integrate citizen journalism in its news coverage. News organizations are not only promoting citizen journalism platforms like IBN Liveâ€™s Citizen Journalist, but also engaging with platforms like Twitter (see @DNAIndia, @LiveMint, @BangaloreMirror, @IndiatimesNews). We will see a continuation of these trends in 2010. More news organizations will experiment with citizen journalism, both by creating citizen journalism platforms on their own websites and by actively tracking social media for stories and sources.
2. Social media will play an important role in the Indian general elections.
Young people in India are very engaged with politics in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack and this engagement will make an impact in the elections. This will include more debate on the many problems facing India and even specific political parties and candidates. This will also involve a serious â€œget out the voteâ€ campaign to get more young people to go out to vote. Specifically, we will see Twitter and other mobile based applications like SMSGupShup and MyToday playing an important role in the general elections, both in the campaigning and in the coverage of the elections. Some politicians will also experiment with social media. BJPâ€™s V K Malhotra, for instance has a Twitter account @VKMalhotra.
3. More Indian corporates will use social media tools to engage with their customers.
With the inevitable cuts in marketing budgets, more Indian corporates will turn to social media to reach their consumers in a meaningful way. These initiatives will include better listening via social media monitoring, more transparency via corporate blogs and Twitter profiles and higher engagement with customer communities on social networking sites. As a result, we will see several new social media monitoring companies (like Informm), social media agencies and consumer communities (likeBrandAdda) enter the Indian market.
4. At least one SMS-based mobile social network will become mainstream in India.
Even as we see several innovations in location based mobile social networking internationally, the adoption of such services in India will be minimal, even with the launch of 3G and flat data rates. Text and voice will continue to drive mobile usage in most of India and we will see the emergence of at least one major SMS based mobile social network in India. It may be a ver 2.0 of SMSGupShup with many-to-many messaging capability, it may be Twitter, or it may be a new player (and, no, it wonâ€™t be MobiChange, not yet).
5. At least one web 2.0 service started in Indian will break onto the international scene.
The recent $7.5 million acquisition of SocialMedian by Xing has shown that a web 2.0 service developed in India can break through onto the international scene. SocialMedian was developed almost entirely in Pune by True Sparrow. In 2010, we will see at least one India based web 2.0 startup scaling up to international prominence, and perhaps selling out, in a similar fashion.
6. Social media outsourcing will we widely seen as the next big outsourcing opportunity for India.
I have earlier written that social media outsourcing is the next big business opportunity for India and may already be leading the third wave of Indian outsourcing. In 2010, the volume of consumer generated media will increase, social media engagement processes and metrics will evolve and budgets will continue to decrease. All these three trends will drive large international brands to seriously evaluate outsourcing parts of the social media value chain to countries like India. We will also see more Indian firms pursue the opportunity in a structured manner and social media outsourcing will be widely seen as the next big outsourcing opportunity for India.
7. Several Indian social networking websites will either shut down or reposition themselves as niche player.
In 2008, we saw that the social networking space in India became a two horse race with Orkut and Facebook and several Indian social networking websites, that were essentially Facebook or Orkut clones, lost significant traffic. We will see this trend continuing in 2010, and, even as we see the emergence of niche social networking sites focused on Cricket, Bollywood, Education, Career, Consumer Reviews, Social Activism, or even Social Shopping, we will see several undifferentiated Indian social networking websites become even more marginalized, with some of them shutting shop.
This is a post by Gaurav Mishra. He builds and nurtures online communities as CEO of Social Business Strategy firm 2020 Social. In his previous avatars, he has studied at IIM Bangalore, held senior marketing roles at the Tata Group, taught social media at Georgetown University as the 2008-09 Yahoo! Fellow, and co-founded crowd-sourced election monitoring platform Vote Report India.
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