I'm honored to have been able to contribute one of frog's 20 Tech Trends for 2013, "Micro-Networks Rise":
Micro-networks are intimate communication networks that people form around subjects of interest to them, whether as simple as their love of chocolate or as complicated as a shared passion for creating change in a local community. Most of these micro-networks are private, and rarely visible to the designer or trend-spotter.
These micro-networks have been fostered in local communities via face-to-face conversation or via email and phone, but just-in-time communication tools have allowed the content of these conversations to persist—and store what people are sharing over time. They encourage connection with people that had previously not been able to join those conversations.
Social platforms such as Quora and Facebook have exploited the budding micro-network trend, allowing knowledge to surface from these communities. Platforms such as Neighborland, frog’s Collective Action Toolkit, and Change.org allow micro-networks to gain momentum and grow around desired political and community change.
Identifying micro-networks and ethically researching how people participate in them will be an important part of how we design any product or service that’s meant to collect and share knowledge in 2013. By combining ethnography with an awareness of what people are doing through their micro-networks, we can gain visibility into trends that are happening, but aren’t always in public view. It can also point us to new and growing private communities that help illuminate for us emerging shifts in customer behavior.
Take a look at the whole set of trends above, or download the poster below: