We've had several clients ask us about 2011 new media trends, so here's a summary of my thoughts about what may transpire this year:

Facebook continues its rise.
As Facebook approaches a billion global users, we're seeing only the beginning of big things from this social network. I guess once Hollywood deems its story worthy of a movie (Social Network), it's officially on the map. Goldman Sachs just invested $450 million into Facebook valuating it at $5 billion. While Facebook hasn't quite figured out how to turn a huge profit, watch out for some 2011 new media trends and a few major changes from the company this year:

  • Integration of e-commerce functionality: From buying real, tangible products, to Farmville-like virtual goods, watch the money start cascading THROUGH Facebook. The virtual-goods market alone in 2011 is expected to reach $2.1 billion, and Facebook will get its cut.

  • Expansion of its advertising platform: Sure, it's in a fight over privacy issues, but Facebook is only beginning to mine the data it knows about its users. There is no greater platform that provides the detailed level of demographic, psychographic, and shopping-habit information than this social network behemoth.

  • Ubiquity: With its login extensibility and badge placement on a large majority of highly visited websites, we all are helping the expansion of Facebook. It will be hard to go a day without hearing, seeing, or using Facebook and its built-for-Facebook apps.

Google isn't done yet either.
It has loads of cash and wants to own more of the world. Perhaps it won't stop until it achieves world domination, or the government steps in. Consider the recent $6 billion purchase offer for Groupon! Some 2011 new media trends to watch from Google:

  • YouTiques (YouTube Boutiques) and e-commerce integration: This is one of the more interesting additions to Google's video-sharing asset. While many new ventures of Google have been mediocre, the new shopping boutiques on YouTube are intriguing. They are popping up more frequently since launching last October with the French Connection. This follows on the heels of YouTube's integration of Google Checkout - another instance of the integration of e-commerce functionality into new media. For you non-profits, it's not a bad way to append your YouTube Channel. It's working well for organizations like Darius Goes West.

  • Virtualization: Google's BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." As part of that goal, Google realizes that the more it can push users to the cloud (cloud computing lets users share files and applications over the Internet), the more information it will have available to organize and make accessible. Many more businesses are moving to the cloud and creating virtual offices. In large part, Google has made this possible with browser-based business applications (e.g., Google Docs), operating systems (e.g., Android), coding assets (e.g., Google Maps, Site Search, Checkout), website and hosting services (e.g., Google Sites), and collaboration tools (e.g., Google Wave). While most of this happens quietly, pay attention to incremental shifts in your organization, competitors, and peers as virtualization starts to take hold as the standard way of doing business.

  • Dominance: It may seem like 15 years is a lifetime in the new media world, but that's all it has taken for Google to become a giant killer. Microsoft is already shaking in its boots and Apple isn't far behind as Google continues to chip away at market share in mobile device, tablet computer, television operating systems, and other industries where it is close to achieving the top market share. With the #1 and #2 search engines in the world (Google.com and YouTube.com), Google won't be stopping anytime soon. If you want to see the 2011 new media trends unfolding, just watch what Google does.

Web 3.0 has (already) arrived.
Web 3.0 isn't a term being used in the mainstream yet, but we are all using web in its latest form. Because of the widespread use of social networks, sharing sites, and other platforms that allow organizations to host content in the cloud, Web 3.0 is a term that will crop up frequently as one of the 2011 new media trends. The mystery that exists with Web 3.0 will be the same as it was with 1.0 and 2.0: How will we adapt and use it to push our businesses forward?

There's a lot we will discover this year, so this list of 2011 new media trends is far from comprehensive. What new media will emerge as the superstars of 2011? Will it be Groupon? Living Social? ShopKick? FourSquare? And what "old" new media will settle in and begin to find their places as viable media options? Will Twitter continue to grow? How will tablet computing (e.g., iPad) change the way we do business?

These 2011 new media trends are exciting to discuss. And they may be effective new options for your organization. Just remember to stick tight to your positioning strategy and continue following solid marketing principles.