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December 21, 2009

Predictions for the Groundswell in 2010 -- Twitter gets serious or gets bought

by Josh Bernoff

Emily Riley and our whole Groundswell team have just published our predictions for 2010. We serve interactive marketers, so these are marketing focused predictions. They are:

  1. Companies' use of social councils will attain budgets and power.
  2. Listening Platform insights will go mainstream.
  3. Marketers will focus less son fuzzy social media metrics and more on real marketing metrics.
  4. Twitter will become profitable or get acquired.
  5. Facebook will get more hands-on to protect users' -- and its own -- interests.
  6. Incompatible mobile devices and siloed social applications will shatter the social experience.

If there is one overarching theme, it's that social technology is now a mainstream part of what marketers do. Items like using Listening Platforms (e.g. Nielsen BuzzMetrics, Radian6) and a focus on metrics that matter to marketers are signs of this shift.

I'd also like to draw attention to the Twitter prediction. Twitter has been fiddling around, growing like mad without a business model, for years now. But in in 2010, growth is not sufficient. One of two things will happen. Either Twitter will have a business generating $100 million at an annualized rate by the end of 2010, or it's going to get bought by the likes of Google, Facebook, or Microsoft. I don't believe it can continue as a huge force that has no visible means of support. Do you?


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Amber NAslund

Hi Josh,

Always interested to hear what your thoughts are moving into a new year. I'm especially interested in #2, of course, but also in #3. And I'm hopeful that it's not just marketing metrics we focus on, but sets of metrics in varying business disciplines that reflect how and where social media can impact success and progress.

Looking forward to seeing how these develop in 2010.

Amber Naslund
Director of Community, Radian6

David Damore

Bloomberg is reporting that Twitter is profitable.

"Twitter Is Said to Be Profitable After Making Search Agreements"

Link > http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a1jwVtGQmErk

Josh Bernoff

Ah, David, but do you really think the investors and managers of Twitter want to live on $25 million per year?

They either need to find a lot more people willing to pay for search, or a new way to make money.

Josh Hammond

Hi Josh

Completely agree – 2010 is shaping up to be a breakout year. Social media has finally earned its seat at the marketing table and the C-suite is increasingly taking notice. 2010 will be the year of: “now that we know we should – how exactly do we do it?”

Service becomes the new marketing. Enterprise social media efforts will focus on CRM engagement models and better tools to manage internal workflows. Companies will move beyond cultivating loyalty and will instead, work to foster passionate advocacy for their brands. Advocacy and the amplification of advocacy become key themes and the indispensible KPI.

Our global clients routinely include social media metrics in their KPI sheets alongside traditional measurements. Social media has proven to be a refreshing and welcomed perspective, and the insights it provides can be a powerful boost for brands.

We live in interesting times!

Josh Hammond
Director of Marketing
Nielsen BuzzMetrics

Craig Vodnik

Hi Josh,

What about the geo-location social services like FourSquare and Gowalla? Those seem to be gaining a "groundswell" of use, albeit much further from mainstream adoption and, therefore, commercialization.

And what about social business networks like LinkedIn and Xing? If/when will there to be a standardized platform for these disparate networks?

It's going to be interesting in 2010 and beyond!

Craig Vodnik
VP North America & Co-Founder
cleverbridge AG

Hans Leijström

7. Business (Enterprise 2.0) outside U.S. (already on track) will make investments in online community in order to connect customers, partners and employees to the company at home space.

Ari Herzog

Can you elaborate on your thoughts about #6? I'm curious what you mean about incompatible mobile devices shattering the ecosystem.

William Mougayar

Yes, but Twitter has made the right decisions so far. I don't think they are in a hurry, since they control such a hot commodity.

Pedro Di Pierro Celestino

Twitter has built a strong brand and now needs to find attractive ways to mine, package and sell the buzz as commodity information goods.

Shariff Duncan

I believe Twitter will be bought as well. All of the other social media sites have been bought and Twitter will not be the exception.

In regards to marketing's shift to social media, it is so amazing how everything has become about social media. It seems like it didn't exist a few years ago, but now every company is interacting on social networks or trying to hire someone who will do it for them. It's almost as if televisions and radios don't matter anymore. It will be interesting to see years down the road what replaces social media.

Josh Bernoff

"All the other social media sites have been bought"? What about Facebook and LinkedIn?

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