What will 2009 bring us in the world of Web 2.0?

What will 2009 bring us in the world of Web 2.0?

Here it is almost a week into the new year and I’m finally writing down my predictions, plans, goals and guesses for the new year ahead of us.

  • More Video. Not just more goofy, user generated video on YouTube but video channels featuring niche content from independent producers. This is in keeping with the Long Tail – low cost digital production and distribution allowing small producers to publish local, regional and unique content. Along with broader adoption and availability of high-speed internet, low cost hosting and storage will make it affordable for video channels to grow. Web based video will move to the larger screen TVs and become a core entertainment choice for a larger audience. In 2011 it might even match broadcast TV for the number of hours consumed on a daily basis.
  • Social Networks will change their business models and start charging members for premium services. Facebook might have the most number of members of all social networking sites but their ad revenue may not be keeping up with the cost of infrastructure in order to serve these million of people and their photos and other stuff.
  • Many web 2.0 start-up companies will shut down due to lack of funding. Initial venture capital funding for many of these initiatives has been used up and finding further capital will be difficult if maybe non-existent. The good news is that some will become extremely innovative in order to stay alive. These innovations will bring us a whole new web (web 3.0?) by the end of the year.
  • More web sourced marketing based on web 2.0 and social communities. Thanks to the positive results of Obama’s presidential election campaign in mobilizing the grass roots to support him, many enterprises will take social communities seriously. If it can be used to elect a president, imagine what it can do to promote a brand or sell a product or service. Election campaigns and product marketing campaigns are pretty much the same thing anyway. It will be interesting to see what Obama does with social networking and social media while actually in office.
  • Cloud computing will be on enterprise radar. Accessing your apps via the web gave shrink-wrap software a run for it’s money in 2008. The real race will be run in 2009. If enterprises are looking for lower cost alternatives in order to weather the economic storm cloud computing may just catch on in a big way. The alternative for many is to not upgrade their legacy apps and desktop software or hardware. Sometimes money not spent is money saved – sometimes money spent wisely will return larger dividends. BTW: I’m using ZOHO.com to write this up.
  • Podcasters will drop in numbers but quality of shows will go up. Podcasting hit a wall in early 2008. Although the listening audience numbers were up dramatically compared to previous years, they slowed down in growth rate. Why? The novelty has worn off for both the producers and the listeners. There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts listed in the various directories out there but more and more are suffering from pod-fade and have stopped producing episodes. It takes a lot of commitment to produce a podcast. The listeners are more savvy as well. They want content that is unique, special, informative, entertaining and presented in a professional package. Podcasters who deliver this package will thrive.
  • Unemployed workers will spend more time on web and less time consuming traditional media. When they need to cut their household budgets the internet will be the last to go. When worse comes to worse they will walk, cycle or hitch-hike to the local library where the internet is free or really cheap. They can do without sitcoms but email, social networking and job hunting via the web is as important as food, water and shelter. Millions of people will become more engaged in the social media and social networks now that they have the time. The result will be a larger web audience looking for products, services and entertainment to get them through the hard-times. As a result new opportunities to provide them what they are looking for will grow. Some of the audience will discover the joys of podcasting, blogging and leading social networking grass roots discussions.

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