We all have a clear idea about what is Social Media these days.
However, if we go back just a few years, how many of us would have been able to predict the advent of Social Media? Don’t worry though, even most self-proclaimed ‘gurus’ weren’t able to do that.
In this article, we will follow Bea’s suggestion last month (in the previous post in this blog) and look into our crystal ball to try and guess what Social Media might become in ten or twenty years.
First of all, let’s take a look at the current numbers and see who is using Social Media right now. It might seem like it’s everyone, but let’s take a look at some real stats…
According to recent figures from Business Insider, we see that, among all users aged 12 to 24, Instagram and Snapchat are so popular they’re gaining on Facebook. Also, in the same report it is said that less than two-fifths of Facebook’s adult user base in the United States is aged 18 to 34.
Extrapolating these numbers to ten years from now (in a totally non-scientific way, but humor me), we might see that…
- For users aged 22 to 34, Instagram and Snapchat will be much more popular than Facebook.
- The majority of Facebook’s adult user base in the United States will be older than 44.
Apart from all of this, considering we have seen the birth (and sometimes, the downfall) of so many Social Media platforms in the last ten years, imagine what may happen in the next decade! It may even be possible that we won’t use Facebook or Twitter any more in favor of a newly created platform or we may see the merge of some of the big names (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn…).
When the son outshines the father…
And what would happen if the son outshone the father? What would happen if Instagram became much bigger than Facebook or Vine became much bigger than Twitter? Would the structure of these companies remain as they are today?
As a matter of fact, the current teen generation is using YouTube as a search engine and we shouldn’t expect that they will switch their search engine preferences for Google in their later years.
According to the Global Web Index, YouTube has been named the ‘coolest social network’ among teens, even ‘cooler’ than the fast-growing Snapchat.
In ten years’ time, we might witness the emergence of completely new Social Media platforms or apps creating services or functionalities that we couldn’t even think of now (as if we couldn’t believe how Human Kind has been able to live for thousands of years without these services).
Nowadays, new appliances, gadgets and wearable devices are appearing that bring us nearer to a totally connected home. As an example, Samsung recently unveiled a new line of refrigerators with an attached touch screen. Why stop there? Perhaps one day we might see a Social Platform only available for home appliances!
How about cars? Cars are becoming increasingly digital. Is it so unreasonable to think that there might be a point in the future when cars can be connected to each other so that they all can work together to make traffic more fluid? (it would also be very good for those of us with road rage).
Influence in Science
Will we see in the future a positive influence from Social Media into the way scientific work is reviewed? Will it be possible that scientists can benefit from this new kind of communication? As an example, a new social network has been created to accelerate the review of scientific papers. Called Academia, it can only be used by scientists.
It’s all about the experience
Let’s talk now about experiences: we usually do four basic things on Social Media: commenting, sharing, favoriting/liking and clicking through to web pages. In the future, the number of different actions that we might be able to do will be substantially higher.
For now, Facebook is testing an expanded ‘like’ feature with new emotions (they’re only testing this in Spain and Ireland, but this is a sign that something is happening and that Facebook needs to evolve). Even though we are only talking about Facebook, the other Social Media platforms (and the new ones to be created) will need to add brand new features if they want to survive in the ‘Social Media jungle’. If any of these platforms remain static, it will likely end up being seen as an ‘old-fashioned’ trend whose best days are behind them.
In twenty years’ time (or sooner), we might use the so-called Internet Of Things to make our friends experience feelings as if they were with us in real life. We won’t post a picture or share a short video. In the future, an spectator in a stadium watching a football match might be able to make his/her friends feel as if they were there.
There will be a time in the future where a friend of ours will be at a concert watching the latest pop-star and we will be able to grab his feelings in some way and even feel for ourselves at the concert. We will leverage emerging technologies like MS Hololens to create completely new Social experiences. This might sound like science fiction but… did you ever imagine twenty years ago that we would be able to access all of human knowledge using a pocket-sized device?
For now, it’s time to put the crystal ball away and simply embrace (intensely and passionately) all the changes that are speeding our way.
Thanks for reading.