The first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997. Blogging sites became popular shortly thereafter and are still popular today. Soon they were followed by MySpace and Linkedin in the early 2000s and YouTube in 2005. When Facebook and Twitter became worldwide sensations in 2006, the establishment of social media platforms became part of our ongoing cultural experience. It seems clear that social media will remain part of our societal norms for a lifetime of generations to come.
To fill up specific niches in social media other platforms followed as well, Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare, and the fastest one growing is Pinterest. The presence of social media has impacted our daily lives. There are very few people in the world who spend less than an hour each day checking multiple sites for news or other forms of social engagement. These platforms are highly focused on exchanges between friends and family and are constantly pushing interaction through features like photo or status sharing and social games.
What does the future hold for social media? In 2017, there will be over two billion social media users worldwide. There is no question that social media and the many revolutionary forms of it are here to stay as long as humans feel the need to communicate with each other. It is only speculative by many theorists what future versions of social media platforms we will choose in which to engage our fellow man or woman.
It is the multitude of applications on social media that assisted in changing its future. The creation of the Like and Retweet buttons gave power to an individual who otherwise might sit idly by as an observer. The network of increased users and personal information provided by many allow us to find lost long friends, classmates, relatives and aid in establishing a business network. It grants us an opportunity to stay in touch when it wouldn’t otherwise be possible or perhaps find the career you have always been hoping to find.
The technology will change to cater to an individual’s needs and preferences. The mass produced content will still be out there but it will be filtered based upon the settings we choose. We have live streaming, which allows us to send out a personal invitation to followers and capture their attention away from bots with no personal connection to viewers. Providing analytics gives the producer and reader an ability to better predict their strategy on many social media platforms.
The future of social media is not written in stone. There are flaws in most everything that is created and unleashed on the public to use at will. No real governing body has been able to keep up with the changes that have taken place in the last few years. The responsibility for proper usage lies mainly in the hands of an individual or society as a whole to monitor each other. So much content is shared on a daily basis it is difficult for an important message to be shared by all, unless it goes viral.
Social marketing of brands will increase the company revenue and make buying fun. The usage of pictures and video will grab the attention of the reader and possibly eliminate the need for complex websites. Through the use of social media, employees will be a large part of the marketing team. Building their skills across multiple platforms and developing social strategies they will become invested in their companies future.
This ever popular trend of social media is addictive. The technology companies know this and will continue to improve their technology to reinforce and enhance this addiction. Whether we know it or not the high-tech companies hope to shape our thoughts, actions, and feelings of every user. Our feelings of inclusion and being liked by followers will shape decisions we make for our future. The brain hacking of these industries has commenced with an assault on all of us. We are lab rats pushing buttons to get a drug they hope we can never live without.
The future of social media has its benefits as well as its evils. We are moving beyond the simple likes and tweets of Facebook and Twitter to a more sophisticated method of communication. It is up to society to maintain the checks and balances for future usage. Hopefully, in this ever-changing world of social media, we make the correct decisions now for the amelioration of future generations.