One of the often overlooked aspects of social media is that it can often be seen a pointer for developing and emerging trends.
Last year I came across a story on Digg about series of vacation photos featuring a young boy playing a handheld game in all of his family vacation photos. There has been some debate over how real the photos are and if they are completely staged or not. However the point isn’t really these particular photos being real or not, it’s that more and more consumers are bringing hand held games with them, to more and more places, including family vacations.
On my most recent trip to Disney World I saw several kids playing Nintendo DS or Gameboys while waiting on some of the longer lines. It appears I wasn’t the only one who noticed this. According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel Disney is offering a special Pirates of the Caribbean Tie in at the Magic Kingdom. Check out the video on that page for the full story, but for you lazy folks basically there are “hot spots” outside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, that allow you to access new content that is only available in the Magic Kingdom.
The takeaway here is use social sites to tap into what real people are doing. Look for ways to tap into those trends or better yet improve on them and make them easier.