What do you think the future of social media will be? Where do you think it will go and will it progress from where it currently is?


2 Answers

Kathryn Wright Profile
Kathryn Wright , Online business Manager, answered

I think that images and video are going to play a huge part in the future of social media. A picture speaks a thousand words, and a video can be watched whilst you do some work, so I think the benefits over reading content mean that we will use images and video more.

Many people I know are tiring of the narcissistic nature of Facebook (just how many times can that person change their profile picture? We all have one friend who changes it every day). There is also not much of substance to read on there. I love to keep up with friends who live too far away, and I have a sister travelling around the world at the moment, and it's great to see everywhere she goes and how happy she is. This however, makes my point even more, she's not telling me these things, she is uploading photos so I can see for myself.

Apparently, many youngsters are turning to Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Vine is great, you can easily make a 6 second video, they've made it really easy to put together and to share from a simple app.

There are many applications that have similar editing functionality to Instagram, but not many that have gained the critical mass that they have. People actually say "I'm going to Instagram it" as a verb the same as they say "Google it", a sign that they are a household name. Apparently, teens are put off by the fact that their parents are all on Facebook as well, so they have had to find another platform to share away from the prying eyes of their folks!

For website owners, the good news is that people generally don't mind watching adverts shown in video such as the ones on YouTube. Once they have played you don't get harassed by them again, which might be nicer than lots of text ads in amongst the content that you try to read. This will hopefully mean that websites can continue to produce unique content, as this has been gradually declining over the past few years due to drops in ad revenues.

Expect also to be tracked more. Advertisers don't want to waste their advertising budget any more, for example; they want to put an advert for expensive women's shoes in front of the person most likely to buy them, rather than show them to one hundred burly men. So, even on Facebook, expect your data to be collected and sold and shared, and to keep seeing ads from sites that you've visited showing up to tempt you to buy.

Yo Kass Profile
Yo Kass answered

I guess it depends how far you want to fast forward, but I'd like to think we're all heading towards a place where what we're currently seeing through a screen becomes far more tactile, real, and more integrated into our every day routine.

However, rather than a "virtual reality", I think technical development will focus on making technology less of an 'obstacle' to how we connect socially - and thus providing us with a form of 'augmented reality'.

As an example, look at how mobile devices have evolved in the past decade or so.

At the beginning, we had keypads that represented 4 or more characters. This made for instant but cumbersome communication.

Then computer-like keyboards were attached to make interacting easier.

Soon, these were replaced by touch-screens, and now this is so common place that I'd struggle to type out a message on an old Nokia  3310.

Kathryn mentioned changes in advertising in her answer, and I think this is an interesting point. At the moment, ad networks like Google AdWords are all keyword (or keyword phrase) based.
But what will happen when people stop typing words into search engines, and instead browse for information and interact with others primarily through images, symbols and sounds?
I think that's going to be one of the biggest challenges for the rest of the internet. How people interact online socially will progress and develop naturally.
How we then build networks and systems that function around it becomes a much bigger ask.
But what has that got to do with social media?
I think the devices we use in the future are going to define how we interact and connect with other people socially - both online and in the real world.
WIth products like Google Glass already pushing the boundaries of reality augmentation, I think social media will become less about communicating with people through text-based language or even vocally, but rather experiencing things through other people's eyes, and almost being connected at a telepathic level.
I know that sounds a bit kooky, but stick with me!
Imagine logging into GooglePlus and being able to see what all your friends are actually doing and seeing in real-time through a Google Glass device (or the ones that have shared viewing turned on anyway). Now imagine you could connect to any of your friend's  devices, and live through their eyes, talk with them, give them realtime advice.
Slightly creepy.
But social media is all about documenting and sharing your life experiences, and with technology becoming less of a barrier in terms of how we share and how it is consumed by viewers, the focus will be very much on what we share (and what we choose not to share).
Here's an early concept video of Google Glass released in April 2012 that shows what they thought Glass was going to be capable of.
Whilst changes have since been made, you can see how the potential to tie this kind of sharing technology with social media will mean an upheaval in how the internet works, and perhaps far sooner than you might think!

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