Seattle Social Media Club’s monthly meeting hosted at Microsoft’s Conference Center on December 8, 2010 in Redmond, Washington raised key questions for 2011 with panelists from non-profit, for profit and government organizations. This last post includes comments from Kathy Gill, who teaches at the University of Washington in the Department of Communication, Digital Media Program and Sean O’Driscoll, co-founder and CEO of Ant’s Eye View.

Final in a Series

There are numbers and there are numbers. Numbers are not be ignored, especially in emerging fields, like social media. The University of Washington’s Kathy Gill began by reminding listeners of some of the interesting numbers from recent stats. Lots of people are way deep into apps and app development, but as of now, only 21% of Americans are using smart phones. Nielson forecasts that 51% of Americans will have smart phones in 2011, a huge increase in user numbers. Kathy notes that it no real surprise that women are dominating the social media market, but currently more men have smart phones. Kathy suggests 2011 as a year to watch not only mobile shifts in critical mass, but that bandwidth delivery will become a key factor for commerce. Also, watch for more pressure for social media privacy protections, like the bill introduced by Senator Charles Schumer, NY last April.

Sean Driscoll of Ant’s Eye View began by sharing that he was excited about building relationships. One aspect of what’s possible with social media as a channel, is that there is a shift from thinking of campaigns to developing relationships. The driver for relationships is insight. And insight is not an idea, not a product, not a brand and not a brief. According to Driscoll, winning on relationships starts with advocates.

I came away from this event sensing that social media is reaching a point of maturity that is very positive for the web and for communicators: real content has meaning and is what will be bringing value to you and your audiences in 2011.

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Recap by SMC Board Member