I only clipped a couple to show you. It's well worth reading the entire article. The virtual goods and currency is intriguing to me. I often wonder how learning could leverage these virtual markets.
Micro-trend 1: Social commerce
Shopping, whether it is for a pair of pants, diapers, or seeds, fertilizer, and a plow on a virtual farm, is inherently social. And while social commerce is not new (in fact, I've written on the topic before for iMedia Connection), the trend is going to escalate and expand in 2011.
Social commerce with the end goal of increasing conversions, leads, and sales started to gain attention years ago with consumer reviews and began to escalate with the introduction of social shopping sites and functionality such as Facebook Connect. Storefronts on Facebook are swiftly escalating, and we recently saw this concept extracted to YouTube with what was described as the first "YouTique" launched at the end of September, by French Connection.
Micro-trend 2: Virtual goods and currency
New media models are being built based on virtual goods and currency, currently connected directly to the increasingly popularity of social games. As a category, social gaming has grown incredibly quickly, becoming one of the dominant drivers of usage on Facebook. The current leader moving this trend is Zynga, which is building a new media model from micro-transactions -- millions of people buying seeds, sheep, tractors, weapons, skill points, and other virtual goods.