In 2015, Personalization Will Be The Focus Of The Web

By Ann Marie van den Hurk Lexington Herald-Leader.

Personalization is the top trend for 2015. Its involves giving everyone a more personalized experience on the Web. And, as algorithms of social media get more complex, they can predict the content of interest to you and then give it to you.

On Facebook, your newsfeed is customized to you and doesn't look like everyone else's. It is based on your friends and likes. If you're signed into Google when you do search, your search results may well be slightly different than someone else's. When you sign into Reddit, you are seeing content on the front page, which is from the subreddits you subscribe.

There are apps that help you curate your interests such as Flipboard and Trove. They learn what you like and start giving you more of it.

According to Amy Vernon, digital strategist, these apps are all going to increase in popularity and importance.

Marc Girolimetti, founder of Red Raider Studios, is seeing a lot of user fatigue not only in games, but also on social media in general. He is finding that people are craving content on a higher level. In terms of games, mindless games are out and games like Minecraft are in. A lot of successful console games, such as Destiny, have gotten visually complex with amazing, re-imagined, experiences.

Jennifer Stauss Windrum, founder of SMAC! Sock Monkeys Against Cancer, echoes Girolimetti about issues with user fatigue. She is finding that users are growing tired of the barrage of information on the Internet and social platforms. Users are looking to unclutter. Curating is key to manage this information overload for users.

People want information when they need it and they want a way to retrieve it at a later time when they are ready for it. While Pinterest is an idea board, it is used to store content for later. Instagram is used to bookmark content for later allowing you to organize it.

Along the lines of personalization and uncluttering, personal communities, micro-communities within communities, will develop according to Danny Brown, co-author of "Influence Marketing." Bloggers and websites will offer personal memberships that take away the bloat of Facebook. Maggie Leifer McGary, a digital strategist, believes that we will go back to niche and personal relationships due to this information overload on the Internet and social media.

Users are spending more and more time just trying to keep up with more and more platforms. As this happens, the result is less value and more stress. FOMO or "fear of missing out" is overtaking people causing them to shutdown regarding platforms. We will move to niche communities where users are gathering around a certain interest or topic.

The focus by organizations will move from profiles to people in conversation. Brands will engage people using personalization by providing them with information and responses the customers need. They will actually respond on social media with customized responses.

Personalization by platforms and curating by users will cut down on the clutter allowing for a more beneficial experience for users in 2015 and beyond. ___ ABOUT THE WRITER Ann Marie van den Hurk, an accredited public relations professional, is principal of Mind the Gap Public Relations and author of "Social Media Crisis Communications."

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