This was an exciting year in online technology. If you look at it from a 10,000 foot view, humans are really still blazing a trail on how to utilize this relatively new medium, the Internet. Perhaps it's obvious but I believe 2008 is really the year that applications and strategies go Micro.
The evolution of the social web (Web 2.0) is now moving rapidly into new, targeted territory. The massive, one-fits-all solution will be evolving to provide you with the right connections to the right people and the right content… at the right time.
- Email has transcended the typical use for eNewsletters and is gaining momentum in the transactional world. Rather than providing it's own ‘event' the email send is now triggered as part of an overall marketing strategy to retain users and keep them connected to their retail outlet, their social network, the blogs they read, etc.
Email is also evolving, despite the limitations of mainstream email clients. Email is going micro… more timely messaging, more control, and more event driven.
- Blogging has gone Micro with Twitter, Jaiku and Pownce. Quick snippets that create virtual conversations from one to many.
Companies are already starting to employ Microblogging, but we'll see the retail use of Microblogging in 2008. We'll also see groups better leveraged in Micro-blogging… much like chat rooms evolved in public chat applications a decade ago.
- Social Networks are moving away from the monolithic strategies of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Plaxo… and move to the micro social networks of Ning (note: SmallerIndiana, NavyVets, Sports Marketing 2.0, IndyLance are a few I've started or am involved in!).
- Bookmarking sites such as Digg are being abandoned for sites like Mixx – where you can set up Micro Groups to join. I'd encourage everyone who reads my blog to contact me for an invite to Online Marketing Group so we can share links. Other applications like Truemors will continue to pop up with refined targeting capabilities rather than preselected categories.
- Geographic Information Systems online are being leveraged more and more to go micro. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft continue to enhance regional data for improved Geographic searches. Google is even supporting KML in sitemaps, to geographically identify and index your websites!
- Video is going Micro (post updated with recommendation from Nil's comment at Scobleizer). Utterz, Seesmic and QIK. Video and mobile phone technologies are converging, enabling people to record and upload video much easier with better quality!
- Software as a Service Applications will continue to be pressured to be flexible enough for branding and integration into other applications or other brands. No more is the ‘canned' application good enough for us to buy and put up, we must leverage CSS technologies to transform our applications to any environment. We must build applications that are capable of being modified to the smallest (micro) detail.
There you have it, my prediction for 2008 – the year of the micro strategy and micro business application. The ability to create like groups, geographically centric applications, micro-branded SaaS, or simple social groupings will be fully leveraged in 2008. Those who won't adapt will be forgotten.