As if to mock this columnist’s gall at trying to predict anything in social media, I’ve already had to rewrite one, based on events more current than what was happening on Christmas Eve when I wrote the first draft. With that, read on -- and yes, I will revisit a year from now to give myself a good laugh, and you too!
Snapchat: Well, here’s that prediction that required a rewrite. Back, say, 10 days ago, I predicted that nothing very interesting would happen with Snapchat in 2014. Whoops! The good news is that something very interesting just happened to Snapchat; the bad news, of course, is that it’s a security breach, in which some 4.6 million users had their phone numbers and identities posted publicly. With Spanchat facing losses to its valuation allegedly running in the billions of dollars because of lax security, here’s my new prediction: Snapchat will get bought -- and quickly -- by an entity that will relish paying less than it would have otherwise, all while salvaging Snapchat’s reputation. Whatever the case, it’s hard to see this turning into an advertising platform -- in 2014, or any other year -- both because its content almost always goes away, and because when it doesn’t, it’s not a good thing.
Tumblr: Will Tumblr be the new Pinterest, or will Pinterest be the new Tumblr? Complain if you want about me equating the two, but many advertisers will use them for the exact same objective: as galleries for the best visuals that communicate their brand. Will those brands pay the platforms for the privilege? Not always.
Twitter: The hard part is coming now that Twitter got past its IPO without duplicating Facebook’s IPO pratfall last year. So what will the platform do? When it comes to advertising, expect it to strike more deals like the one it signed with ESPN back in May, which let advertisers buy joint sponsorships across TV and Twitter. Another prediction: Twitter will find a way to integrate tweets and TV viewing into a one-screen experience. Just don’t ask me how.
Vine: An advertiser somewhere will create a 30-second ad for TV that is actually five consecutive Vines, perhaps as soon as the 2014 Super Bowl. They will mistakenly think this is the greatest idea ever.
YouTube: YouTube will create an original series featuring Ylvis, the Evian Babies, Justin Timberlake and that couple from Jay Leno’s “Pumpcast News” segment who may or may not have been hired to pretend it was all impromptu. Seriously, though, YouTube, noticing the success of Netflix with “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” will go into original content -- the difference, of course, being that on YouTube, it’s ad-supported.
OK. That’s a wrap. See you after the first snowstorm of 2014!