Looking back at 2011, there’s no denying how big of an impact social media has made.  New technology made way for new gadgets which paved the road for more social media sites and apps. And what drove more traffic to these sites was the competition. The overflow of social media we saw in 2011 would have been overwhelming to most a few years ago, but now, it’s more like a necessity.

It seems like everyone is equipped with a smartphone that has at least 2 apps catering to a social media website. Even if you don’t have a smartphone, you’re at least tweeting or posting your Facebook status from your computer throughout the day. Society’s need to be socially connected via the web these days is outstanding. While Myspace seemed to have been the social media giant some years ago, it’s almost become obsolete as Facebook and Twitter have taken over. But with any trend, could these sites become a thing of the past as well? Looking ahead, the 2012 forecast for social media makes for an interesting discussion.

From many experts in the field, it seems as though the big social media battle of 2012 will be between Google+ and Facebook. Rivaling each other for social supremacy, stakes are high for both companies. Most importantly, the consumer’s time will be a big factor in deciding which site will reign supreme.  Time is limited nowadays and with so many options available, consumers are most likely eager to spend quality time with one or the other.  With that in mind, Twitter takes an upper hand as a quick tweet here and there throughout the day doesn’t take up too much of the consumer’s time. But a slew of sites that were briefly introduced towards the latter half of 2011 are now said to “blow up in 2012.” Below is a list of social media sites that will pick up speed in 2012:

1. Pinterest

Described by its creators as an “online pinboard,” Pinterest has gained some momentum in the latter half of 2011. In 2012, many expect it to be huge. So what is it exactly? Pinterest is a place where you can organize and share online images that you find interesting, inspiring, intriguing, etc. These images become known as “pins” once uploaded to the website and onto customized “boards.”  These “boards” not only pin pictures of your cool finds, but can also be quite valuable as a tool in the office, at home, and at school. From gathering ideas on how to re-decorate each room in the house, to organizing images for a project, collecting images for a shopping list and more, the possibilities are endless with what kind of “board” you can make.  All of which can be shared with various people who can contribute “pins” to your board as well.

2. Unthink

Emancipate yourselves from social media and unleash your potential. That’s the message this “social revolution” is spreading.  Unthink is an all-in-one media platform that enables you to connect with the world around you and collaborate with others to bring about the changes you want to see.  Or as their website states: “It’s a community with a shared way of thinking.”

3. Fiverr

Fiverr is the place for people to share the things they’re willing to do for $5; in short, a buying and selling social media outlet. Founded in 2009, this social network of service providers & buyers is expected to pick up speed in the New Year. Especially with the ups & downs of the economy, Fiverr shares services that its own members offer for just $5. Services range from people offering to do video testimonials for product reviews, creating graphics, to totally random things like “making anything out of toys for $5.”

4. Stumble Upon

Who doesn’t like stumbling into new people or things?  This social website helps you easily discover new and interesting stuff on the web by simply providing information about what you like. Users are then asked to “like” or “dislike” the various recommendations that are given to them and leave feedback.  With 2012 approaching us, we’ll never know what we stumble upon in life in the New Year.

With so many social websites like the ones briefly described above, it’ll be exciting to see the others that will make its debut in 2012. As for the top dogs in current social media trends, experts are mostly interested to see how Facebook will take social “sharing” to new heights and how Google+ will try to out-do all these Facebook changes. While the idea of an online “social network” seems to be the complete opposite of what being “social” should be, by 2012, it’ll be a norm in society. Everything and everyone is on the web. And if you aren’t…

Don’t be surprised if you “stumble upon” a “fiverr” who catches your “pinterest” or helps you “unthink” what you thought you knew about social media.