2010 has been a big year for tech innovation and the social media world. Facebook hit 500 million users, and the midterm elections meant that our elected officials were tweeting en masse. This is part one of a two-part Bivings Report end-of-the-year recap of the top 10 biggest trends in web 2.0 in the last year.

Have your own ideas or think we missed an important development? Please do leave your thoughts in the comments below!

1. Location, location and location

This year saw the explosion of Foursquare, Gowalla and the launch of Facebook Places. With a consistently growing number of web and GPS-enabled phones on the market, geolocation-based social networks really took off in 2010. A number of major retailers utilized ‘checking in’  to offer discounts and promotions to their customers (particularly on Black Friday).  The competition amongst rivals Foursquare and Gowalla has also been intensifying over the course of the last twelve months – with Gowalla enabling Fouraquare check-ins through it’s application, and Foursquare allowing users to upload pictures when they check in.  We firmly believe that this particular web 2.0 tend will continue to flourish as more and more of the world’s population gains access to the internet via web-enabled phones.

2. Trend toward mobile + Cloud continues

More and more of the world’s cell phone customers are gaining access to web-enabled phone. Subsequently, a greater number of people is able to access a larger amount of information while on the go and removed from their computers.

Cloud computing is anther technological force that isn’t going away any time soon. More and more corporations, government agencies, and small businesses are beginning to utilize the efficiencies inherent in cloud computing to help their employees be more flexible and efficient. With companies like IBM and Microsoft throwing major publicity campaigns for the cloud – we predict that this technological innovation will continue to gain ground.

3. Websites making increasing use of social networking

While one would assume that by this point, there would be few, if any major media, corporate, or university website nowadays that does not feature at least one link to an online social network; we were surprised to find that many Fortune 500 companies still have not adopted social media. According to a 2010 study "The Fortune 500 and Social Media" by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth: 

23% or 116 of the 2010 F500 companies have a corporate blog. Of the top ten F500 companies, only Bank of America does not have a public facing blog.  Compared to 2009 in which 22% of F500 companies had a blog, this aspect of online engagement appears to have become stagnant.

60% or 298 of the 2010 F500 companies have corporate Twitter accounts.  While this is up dramatically from 35% in 2009, one would expect that with the recent economic recession and a tougher competitive environment, more corporations would have jumped on the social media bandwagon.  Of the top ten Fortune 500 companies, Wal-Mart, Exxon, Chevron, General  Electric, Bank of America, ConocoPhillips, AT&T, Ford and HP regularly update their Twitter accounts.

56% or 280 of the 2010 F500 companies are now on Facebook.  While Facebook was not studied in the 2009 report, this number is again much lower than one would expect given Facebook’s growth and earned media attention.

4. Nonprofit and Charitable Giving: Be Strong and Innovate

While the economic recession took a major tool on fundraising for  nonprofits and charities in 2009 and the first half of 2010, two recent studies by Guidestar and the Network for Good indicate that not only is the worst over, but that also by adopting a strategic approach to online giving, it is possible for non-profits to succeed even in hard economic times.

In GuideStar’s 2010 Fundraising Survey which polled 2,356 public charities and 163 private foundations:

36% said giving rose and 37% said giving fell, while the other 26% reported that total giving remained the same. International organizations were the most likely to report an increase in contributions, reflecting donations made for disaster relief.  The larger the organization’s size,  the more likely the organization was to report an increase in charitable receipts in the first nine months of 2010, compared with the same period in 2009.

Taking a specific look at online giving, the Network for Good examined $381 million in contributions and found that:

The online giving experience has a significant impact on donor loyalty, retention, and gift levels. The more intimate and emotionally coherent the giving experience, the stronger the relationship between donor and nonprofit appears to be.

Personality matters. The loyalty factor for donors acquired through generic giving pages is 66.7% lower than for donors who give via charity-branded giving pages.

Recurring giving is a major driver of giving over time and should be strongly encouraged in the giving experience.

Online giving spikes during the month of December and large-scale disasters. During disasters, donors are more likely to consider new giving options, while in December they are more likely to give based on relationships with the charities.

For some additional reading we recommend: How to Donate IRA Distributions to Charities as well as  Mint.com’s “Charity: Who Cares?”

5. Apple and Facebook threaten the end of the web as we know it?

Will Facebook messages replace our personal email inboxes? Will we all become salves to the iPad OS (complete with a lack of flash and tightly-controlled apps market)? Consumers are going to be made keenly aware of the walled gardens inherent within the Apple apps market – as certain applications will continue to be denied for posing threats to the business models and profit margins of cellular carries and mobile internet providers.   This holiday season marked a widespread embrace of the iPad in many American homes, and the policies enacted by Apple will thus begin affecting a growing number of consumers. Likewise, with Facebook reaching 500 million users and not stopping its growth anytime soon, the walled gardens policies of both Apple and Facebook will continue to impact the social networking and online interactions of millions of people all over the globe.