At the beginning of a year, most of us reflect on the previous one in an attempt to divine some kind of image of the future. Sometimes, if the path is well defined, it results in a simple tweak. Sometimes it involves a wholesale scrubbing and drubbing that results in about 10 different scenarios for the future. It’s tough to pick the mostly likely, but I’d have to say that 2009 is going to be the year when social media becomes so …. over! This is coming from an active user. I’m one of those guys who walks down the street emailing on the phone, checking out some web newsletter, or reading some blog. And now I’m telling you it’s going to be gone? Well, not really. What I’m thinking is that social media, which is booming in B.C. – we’re one of the North American leaders in it – is simply becoming media, another information channel. As recently as 2007, social media was still the playground of the early adopters, the passionate who really believed they were leading a new culture. It was a movement. By the end of this year, everybody was into it. It was routine to have a list of blogs you used for information gathering; everybody was messaging more and emailing less; marketers were absorbed in using it as a low-cost channel. Heck, even extremely traditional media types were using Twitter. The result is that there is ever more noise out there, a torrent of information that can be deafening. And, as many are discovering, that can also be damaging to your mental health. This explosion of media has separated people’s attention into tiny segments, and as a result their mental windows have been shattered into little shards. They’re almost incapable of focusing on anything any more. So I predict that, while “social media” adoption continues to grow in 2009 among the wide majority, a new movement will emerge that seeks to impose some discipline on all that media use. Instead of being “always on”, we’ll only be “on” a couple of times a day.