Trendwatching: Two Important Social/Local Trends for 2009

The most recent Trendwatching newsletter (sent to me by Eric Baillargeon) covers two trends of note:

Feedback 3.0 which they describe as being “all about companies joining the conversation, if only to get their side of the story in front of the mass audience that now scans reviews. Expect smart companies to be increasingly able (and to increasingly demand) to post their apologies and solutions, preferably directly alongside reviews from unhappy customers. Expect the same for candid rebuttals by companies who feel (and can prove) that a particular review is unfair or inaccurate, and want to share their side of the story.”

Mapmania is all about map mashups and local content. Why is that happening?  According to them, “Geography is about everything that is (literally) close to consumers, and it’s a universally familiar method of organizing, finding and tracking relevant information on objects, events and people. And now that superior geographical information is accessible on-the-go, from in-car navigation to iPhones, the sky is the limit.”

What it means: Feedback 3.0 is definitely the normal evolution.  Companies (even small ones) are now realizing that there’s a lot of activity going on around their “brand” and with the rise of social media, store owners (or their employees) are now becoming savvier.  They should embrace this opportunity to join the conversation, learn from their mistakes or correct misconceptions.  They should also corral their loyal customers and ask them to become their evangelists online.  As for Mapmania, I obviously agree that we’re getting close to the “Local Wide Web“.  I think maps are an intrinsic part of local search (no service should be without maps) but I’m not 100% convinced local search user navigation needs to always start with a map.

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