The Future of Consumer Web in 2011

Want an apple, how about a gel packet instead? GroupOn is getting big, social games are still growing, and Net Neutrality may start creating "classes" of people. Are you ready to be a Consumer in 2011?

Want an apple? How about a tasty gel packet instead…

PepsiCo is getting ready to launch and distribute squeezable fruit packets to make “drinkified snacks” though their regular fruit juices still have mold and safety issues. Utah is wired up with CrimeReports letting residents submit online crime tips and allow for community policing and nearly anything you want to find is online including coupons that can be used with most mobile devices and texting groups as the new meetups. Two years ago GroupOn was speculated to be worth $250 Million yet their founder pulled a “Zuckerberg” rejecting a $6 Billion dollar acquisition. Not bad considering recent reports put that number closer to $20 Billion, but what does this all mean? I’d argue the online consumer is mobile, pissed off, and looking to make life more efficient. So what is going to follow? How we interact with each other is going to be more fluid, we will connect faster, and daily tasks we once took for granted will be eliminated with technology and here’s how:

Crime and Fighting Back

How we can be taken advantaged of has changed and legislation is attempting to catch up. If a majority of our time is online and increasingly what is online needs to be accurate, regulations of false information online are going to spike. Thanks to Senate Bill 1411 fake Facebook profiles in California now come with fines and misdemeanor charges as of January 1st, though no reports of it being enforcable have surfaced yet, it is still an attempt to judicially adapt to new society behaviors. There is even a fancy Internet Crime Center online which is a partnership between the FBI and two other agencies to help fight crime online. By the end of the year will any of these new outlets matter? No, but they will be replaced with better, more efficient working programs. Mark my word and make sure to sign up for Votizen.

Mobile as Hell

So much of what we do requires different devices: garage clickers, keys, swipe tags, iPads, Blackberries, remote controls. All these things will be meshing together. Your unique identity is usually already saved in one of your electronic devices used daily, so if the technology is there then why carry so many items? Soon we will find our iPads doing things that will eliminate keys or remotes. If P-diddy can drive his yacht via iPad then you don’t need to use anything other than your cell phone to open the garage. That simple.

Playing with Life and Gamification

Games are hot and still growing, CityVille is now bigger than Farmville ever was and it seems that gaming mechanics can be applied to almost every aspect of life. The psychology of the human brain still works the same which is why even with technological evolution we still like to be rewarded and challenged. More marketing tactics will have a gaming spin on then and we are getting used to it. “Leveling up” is no different than establishing classes. Luckily the government is helping create class pools right away with the recent passing of “Net-Neutrality” making internet speed essentially two levels: public, then faster private. No different than healthcare, an inalienable need will be treated as a supplement, or merely another badge to work for.

Customizing Levels of Connection

Last decade was spent connecting everyone, this decade going to be spent customizing these connections. While everyone now has “friends” who gets priority and how to communicate to those in priority is the next stage. We know this from the uber growth of and other SMS based grouping services. We also know this from several failed attempts of “priority email” and Facebook launching their new social messages box which is slowly being released to users. The final solution isn’t apparent but we will get pretty close in 2011.

The Winner is: The Consumer

This year the consumer is going to have more leverage than ever but we need to be careful. Corporations will have started putting strategies in place, which is great, but it will make it easier to flood the internet with propaganda and if you are using the “public” level of internet or coming from certain ISPs it’s not far fetched to think the bigger the internet universe gets the easier it can be to trick others. Even while searching in Facebook results pop up based upon those closest to you in your network. Is that what you want? Yes, results based upon connections makes for relevant info. Could being fed results based upon those closest to you also harm objectiveness? Yes, its also one of the fastest way to drink the cool-aid. We need to make sure to keep one eye open at all times. Fortunately the Twitterverse still manages to make it hard to find relevant info besides retweets, so that should be safe for a while.