Mahsable.com recently published a blog with several predictions for an evolving Internet. The four predictions were definitely interesting and thought provoking.

As a real estate marketer, these predictions make me wonder how the field of advertising will evolve along with the Internet. We are seeing changes in the online marketing model everyday. Social media has changed the way we market online. As the Internet evolves, so will social networking.

Below are two trends listed in the article that really stuck out to me.

The Web Will Be Accessible Anywhere

I have hit on this topic before. The Internet is becoming more accessible outside of our homes. This means that our consumers will be shopping for and reviewing products on the go. It is predicted that this year will become the year of mass real-time reviews. Consumers can achieve this with cell phones but as predicted by Mashable, wireless networks will soon blanket cities. This will encourage the use of the Internet outside of the home using net books and iPad like devices, thus leading to the more frequent use of social networking services.

Social Media Will Be The Largest Component

The Mashable.com article points out that humans, by nature, are social creatures. I totally agree with what they are saying. We are social beings and we base a lot of our daily decisions on social interactions, especially product consumption including real estate. The rise of social networking and peer reviews has really put that into perspective. As the Internet grows, so will social networking.

In my opinion, there is no going back. Consumers have found a way to get fast product reviews while on the go. They might even search for reviews of your property while they are touring it. Social networking can’t be ignored.

Don’t ignore the tidal wave that is coming. As Mashable.com has predicted, it’s the future of the Internet and the future of marketing.

I would like to share a blog post by Kevin Maggiacomo.

The subject matter of this blog is targeted towards commercial real estate but I think his ideas and principles can be applied to all types of real estate. You can read his post here.

I won’t go over all of his points but there are a few things he writes about that really stick out to me. Many are the same excuses I hear for not utilizing social media in real estate.

The idea that “real businesses” don’t use social media is laughable at this point. Did you know that Pepsi decided to skip on this year’s Super Bowl and direct its budget and efforts towards expanding its social presence? You can read about it here.

Not having the time to participate in social media is like not having the time to talk to your customers. The truth is that a lack of participation in social media can translate to “I am ignoring you” type message.

I think the greatest point Maggiacomo makes is that social media doesn’t replace real relationships, it enhances them and builds on them. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Social media is about taking existing relationships to the next level and starting new ones. Whenever I make a new contact through social media my goal is to eventually establish a real life relationship. When I say “real life” I mean a face-to-face relationship. I am not saying that our relationships on social networking sites aren’t real because they definitely are. I believe for real estate, most business relationships come from face-to-face meetings, not through Twitter. That’s only the starting point.

Real estate is an industry built on relationships. Whether you’re a leasing agent, developer, or marketer, you probably rely on your contacts and your network for business. Social media can take your relationships with other businesses and consumers to the next level. It can also help you develop new ones.

I agree with what Maggiacomo has to say on the matter:

“Regardless of where you are in the commercial real estate value chain, you won’t be able to ignore social media and remain competitive in today’s marketplace. I would offer my strongest encouragement to anyone not actively involved in social media to develop a strategy for implementation.”

Forbes has recently ranked Atlanta as the number one recession-proof place to retire in America.

It’s very encouraging to receive such recognition especially during harsh economic times. The Forbes article points out several positive aspects of Atlanta that not only benefit retiring baby boomers but also the city as a whole.

The traditional warm climate trend for retirement living is slowly reversing. Retiring boomers are actually looking for a less expensive urban setting. Forbes gives us several reasons for the reversal and some reasons why Atlanta was ranked number one on their list.

Housing is Affordable and Values Are Projected To Rise

According to the Forbes article, Atlanta has several affordable housing options when compared to other major U.S. cities. Furthermore, the value of most Atlanta homes are projected to rise 13.4% over the next five years making it a very attractive retirement location for boomers on a budget. As bad as the last year was, our housing market is still in better shape then Miami, one of the more traditional retirement hot spots of the past.

A Lower Cost of Living

Compared to most major cities, Atlanta still has one of the lowest cost of living rates. This is very attractive to those looking for retirement locations. The “Great Recession” has hurt everyone’s savings and I think it has altered the way boomers will retire from now on. Atlanta’s urban settings offer many of the same perks and benefits of other large cities at a much lower cost. This played a huge role in the Forbes Recession-Proof Places To Retire List.

An Expanding Job Market

As we all know retiring baby boomers have been humbled by this recession. For a lot of them, relocation is still very possible, but many will have to continue working in order to do so. This makes a strong job market very important. According to Forbes, the Atlanta job market is poised to grow by 13.5% over the next 5 years.

All of these things contribute to Atlanta’s number one ranking. A lot of other major cities in U.S. share some of these characteristics, but Atlanta has more to offer retirees. This is why we were ranked number one. I think we should be proud and also optimistic about our future.

Popular research shows that the second half of the baby boomer generation feels totally unprepared to retire anytime soon. A current survey suggests that over 41% of baby boomers feel that they will never be ready to retire. In fact, many haven’t even begun to start saving for their retirement. I think this might be a little bit of an over-statement, but it really demonstrates their attitudes and confidence in the current market.

My prediction is that these worrisome boomers will still be able to retire one day, but just not in the manner they envisioned just a few years ago. The extravagant amenities including the prestigious golf courses and warm weather locations might be a thing of the past. It appears that the Del Webb home building company is investing in this ideology.

Del Webb, one of the few nationally recognized home building companies for active adult, is taking a step back from their home product plans and adjusting for the current economic climate.

This company understands that retiring boomers will still want to move, but desired retirement locations are much different than those of the past. The large home-building company is building more and more retirement homes in North Carolina and South Carolina due to their lower costs. They are also enhancing how affordable their homes are by downsizing their floor plans to meet stricter retirement budgets.

Another interesting note is that Del Webb is adding certain amenities such as a home office to serve boomers that still work. I believe this will be an emerging trend for the 55+ housing market. As retirement age increases, the 55+ consumers will still want to relocate at the normal retirement age, but may still need to work in order to live comfortably. Maybe continuing to work at home will be a choice retirees make in order to live the lavish retirement lifestyles they were once looking forward to. This is a trend to keep your eye on.