Top 5 Social Media Trends of 2010

A look at the top social media trends of the year.

Geolocation Takes Center Stage

In 2009 South by South West was all about Twitter. In 2010 Foursquare became the new hyped up service. "Check In" applications were all the rage in 2010 and were one of the biggest social media trends of the year. Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Yelp, and eventually Facebook all tried to convince people to check in and earn discounts or badges. For the most part it worked. Facebook was extremely successful with it's initial deal offerings and Foursquare's adoption rate has yet to level off.

Group Buying Goes Big

Daily deal sites such as Groupon, Tippr, and Living Social all took a gamble that group buying would pay off and all were proven correct in 2010. The big winner was Groupon. The company nearly closed a deal with Google and this week was given another round of financing. Consumers are willing to spend for savings. An old idea reinvented for the web. Group buying proved it won't be going away anytime in the near future.

Q&A Takes Off

We're still trying to figure out the long term appeal, but Q&A sites grabbed a lot of attention in 2010 as one of the years fastest rising social media trends. Sites like Quora, formspring.me, and LinkedIn Answers took off. Quora, a relative new comer, caught attention by entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts in the summer and has been steadily growing. Facebook has also invested resources into building out a Q&A service. It'll be interesting to see how the demand for these services shakes out in the coming year.

Social Gaming Continues to Grow

With the rising popularity of Facebook and smartphone use, social gaming exploded in 2010. Zynga, widely known for Farmville and other similar Facebook  games, gained new heights in profitability during the year and shows no signs of slowing down. Concepts such as social currency (paying for items within games) and in game advertising became more common. Applications such as SCVNGR (pronounced scavenger) are looking to take social gaming to a whole new level by integrating social networks with gaming aspects.

Social Sharing Grows Up

In 2010 social media optimization became more common across the web. The debut of Facebook's Open Graph compelled businesses to start thinking about how important social media trends were and how visitors want to share and "like" content they enjoy. Just about everywhere you go on the web you can find ReTweet, Share, Digg, and Buzz buttons. Social media optimization became important and mainstream in 2010. Enterprise level businesses began cross promoting social media efforts within regular marketing campaigns and changed the way they viewed social networks. Having a Facebook page went from something that was cute to something that became a requirement for many industries.