Transforming the world of online media and marketing, technologies that enable a portable identity will soon allow consumers to bring their identities with them across the Web, according to a deep-dive study on the future of social media from Forrester Research.
What’s more, IDs are just the beginning of this transformation, in which the Web will evolve step-by-step from separate social sites into a shared social experience, according to the report’s key author, Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang.
“Consumers will rely on their peers as they make online decisions, whether or not brands choose to participate,” Owyang explains in the report. “Socially connected consumers will strengthen communities and shift power away from brands and CRM systems … eventually this will result in empowered communities defining the next generation of products.”
Brands anxious to exploit the flurry of social activity presently face one key challenge: social information about people, their profiles, and their friends is locked up in separate networks.
But, according to Forrester, the social web is about to evolve from a few social network sites into a consistent backdrop for every online activity. Portable social IDs and the changes they enable will transform how consumers, brands, and social networks interact, according to Owyang.
In the next stage of social evolution, starting later in 2009, technologies like OpenID and Facebook Connect will let individuals traverse the Internet with their social connections along for the ride.