Insight from the Global Team.

Matt Basford By Matt Basford

15 Feb 2012 Industry Thought Leaders Weigh in on the “Future of Sharing” as Social Media Week Kicks Into High Gear

At Social Media Week around the globe, Beyond is releasing the findings of a new study called the “Future of Sharing." We surveyed 2059 consumers about their attitudes towards some of the emerging sharing trends to better understand what the future holds in store. While the findings were enlightening, we also recognize that there is no replacement for the perspective industry thought leaders can offer on future trends.

As such, we approached some of the biggest brands and brightest social media minds to hear directly from them what they think of the future of sharing:


“I’m really curious about how people decide what groups to share with, and how people establish emotional and personal connections with certain groups by sharing different kinds of things. I believe that as sharing gets more sophisticated, people will learn - and technology will help them - share different pieces of their life with different groups, given the model of Google+. I also think that Facebook will evolve and learn to adopt what has worked across other social networks. For example, subscribing to feeds which models Twitter, establishing groups which models Google+ and enabling more seamless professional connections which models LinkedIn.”

Vivek Wagle, Senior Marketing Manager, Content & Social Media, AirBnB


“We just won't know for another five years if there will be a backlash against the kind of sharing we see today. We need to wait for the current generation who have been bought up in a world of oversharing and always-on, to get their first jobs, start families, etc -- and then take stock and decide if sharing all content with everyone they know makes as much sense as it once did.  Will be interesting to see if and when that tipping point happens, and if more discrete sharing services with the likes of Path, Google Circles, etc will become more mainstream.

People's motivations for sharing are different depending on the platform and also very much depends on their personality types. A lot of people share and curate content to create a very specific persona; other people will share information because they want to be seen to be the first to share a piece of news. I would argue that some people just get addicted to wanting to be the first to know something and being the first to tell their friends - it's a competitive thing”

Ranaan Bar-Cohen, VP Media Services, Automattic/WordPress


“Before we can determine the future of sharing, we have to first figure out how we get ourselves out of the sharing backlash that is currently happening. There is a huge rise in content being shared and I believe people are struggling with how to turn it off. So, as a result, they are leaving social platforms all together. As we work through this period, we are going to continue to see segmentation in terms of the channels people choose to share content on. Twitter has a unique purpose for people, which is very different than Facebook or YouTube, or other channels. Also, don’t forget about email. That will always have its place as a huge sharing vehicle.”

Rick Sylvestrini, Global Product Marketing Manager - Monetization, YouTube


“Surprisingly, there are still many e-commerce sites that are not optimized for sharing, and as we saw this holiday season, online shopping is growing at an exponential rate. A lot of sites have added a share button or two on a product page, but not much else. There often are no share buttons on purchase confirmation pages, and there are no share buttons on customer reviews. We're moving toward a time where every e-commerce site should be a totally social experience. When that happens, brands are going to need to realize the amazing potential of social commerce.

When brands start to really look at the data around sharing, particularly in regards to social commerce, they'll begin to fine-tune their strategies to capitalize on the power of sharing. When you look at some of our initial data from ConversionBuddy our social commerce and analytics product, you see the opportunity right away. Our aggregate data suggests that the average Facebook share generates $2.10 in incremental sales, that the average conversion rate for a Facebook share was 10.2%, and that the most sharing for Internet retailers occurs on Wednesdays. This is crucial information for marketers, and when they have it, you'll see them really start to change the way they communicate with customers.”

Mike Lazerow, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Buddy Media


“The layering of social, local and mobile applications will have the most important impact on consumer’s online behavior in the next 1-5 years.  This convergence is especially relevant at point of sale and has provided new opportunities to engage consumers.  Seeing this trend, we’ve socialized the deal experience through our Link, Like, Love Facebook application in which we are able to deliver Cardmember deals and experiences based on both their likes, interests and social connections.  We’ve made deals local and relevant through our partnership with foursquare in which we offered couponless deals to Cardmembers.

We’ve seen that mobile customers are highly engaged, spend more and spend a greater portion online than other digital customers. As social, local and mobile converge, these consumers will continue to share relevant deals, offers and experiences with their network of friends.”

Shari Forman, VP, Global Social Media Strategy,

Digital Partnerships & Development, American Express


"As a global news organisation, sharing information is at the core of our mission. New technologies and networks provide opportunities for innovation and allow us to grow and engage our communities on and elsewhere. The world is becoming more connected and social media will continue to enable us to share our award-winning journalism to new audiences around the world."

Charl Porter, Group Product Manager,


“Frictionless sharing is pretty impersonal and not that social.  It feels like Friend-Spam, which we tolerate because it's from friends, but still, pretty much useless. However, this is phase 1 and it WILL almost certainly get better.  I just wish that the engineers worked equally as hard on filters as they do on distribution.

Also, In 10 years we will look back at pictures of people with their heads buried in their phones and laugh our asses off.  Why?  Because it's completely anti-social and antithetical to the idea of living in the moment.  How can you live life when YOU HAVE TO SHARE EVERYTHING via Facebook!!  The gateway that technology provides is one that will lead us to a better, more socially engaged life, but one that is not filled with compromise.  Right now, we are compromised by having to use physical devices.”

Toby Daniels, Founder, Social Media Week and CEO of CrowdCentric


Joins us at Social Media Week to share your thoughts on this topic, in New York, London or San Francisco.

New York

Wednesday, February 15

4:00 – 5:00 pm

Location: Big Fuel Headquarters, 40 W. 23 Street


Thursday, February 16

9:00 – 11:00 am

Location: Design Council, 34 Bow Street

San Francisco

Thursday, February 16

1:00 – 1:50 pm

Location: San Francisco State University, 835 Market Street, 5th Floor


Matt Basford on Google+

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