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What Does the Future Hold for Social Media?

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A quick answer, bleak though it may be, would be found in flicking on an episode of Charlie Brooker’s BlackMirror, which, like the silent, stilled screen of a dormant T.V, reflects our world warped and darkened, animating the distorted and disturbed. 

The most common aspect of our predicted digital future seems to be the immersion of mind and tech, so it seems Charlie Brooker may not have been too far off, with much of his writing exploring the ethical issues surrounding the shift from smart phone to cyborg.  This view is echoed by NPR Digital Strategist and Editor at NPR, Melody Kramer who writes:

“I’m pretty sure every time Apple’s designers want to come up with a new product, they go into a room and watch Inspector Gadget…Gadget’s real skill came from his endless collection of wearables…That’s largely how I envision social media in the future. It will become part of the fabric of our clothes, part of the glasses we wear and the shoes we put on, and the gadgets we no longer see as gadgets but as part of our very selves. Social will measure, but sharing will become more passive in the process; it won’t require any effort on our part to share any part of our lives. I say this knowing full well that to me this future is absolutely horrifying. It sounds more like an episode of “The Twilight Zone” than one of Inspector Gadget, and I really hope it doesn’t come true. But as gadgets get smaller and we become more comfortable with quantifying more of ourselves, I suspect people like me will fade away, or at least be whispering…”

With the internet giving way to a new world of sociability and business, everyone is keen to know exactly how best to equip themselves to prosper in a digital future, rapidly evolving out of sight.

If we keep in mind that only one third of the world’s population is currently online, the biggest problem social media looks to face is data management. Already there 46,296 YouTube videos viewed per second, 500 million tweets per day, 1.3 billion active Facebook users, and 60 million photos uploaded to Instagram. So with organisations, such as internet.org, that seek to connect the untapped two thirds of the globe, the research into the increase in data over the next few years, may itself, revolutionise the way we pass information. However, this data overload is not necessarily a problem, as explained by Director of Simply Measured Otis Kimzey who argues that:

“The most dramatic change by 2039 will not only be the amount of data that will be available to everyone but also the decision-making power of that data. We currently have thermostats that learn our preferences, watches that take our pulse, and Nike even knows how often and how fast we run, and this is just the beginning.
With this much data, personalized content will become the norm. I love unfiltered feeds, but in the future, when the depth of data available meets the ability to make decisions based off of that data, the result will be a very individualized and powerful experience. People will be able to get the content they want, at the time they want, from the people and brands they want, perhaps even on their projector watch or contact lens.”

theguardian.com

Born in the age of the dawning internet, we still view it as its own entity, and rightly so…technically. However, we can now see how deeply ingrained the internet has become in city life, it works behind the scenes leading us to take more notice of its absence than its presence. In generations to come, it will be the norm to be connected, so much so that the everyday person may not even question where it is that there connection comes from, or what it connects to. Much like electricity nowadays, of course a few school science lessons have explained the basics, but more and more we take for granted how are things are powered, pushing electricity behind the scenes, expected, and sometimes not appreciated. This is a school of thought demonstrated in the writing of Sarah Green, Harvard Business Review, Senior Associate Editor and Host of HBR Ideacast, who explains:

“My bet is that social will be less about standalone apps and websites and more about the “piping” of the Internet. In the future the Internet will operate more like electricity does today, as an unseen part of the infrastructure around us that we notice only when it’s not present. This will put more pressure on advertisers, marketers, and big thinkers to spread their messages in a genuinely interesting and useful way, since they’ll be less able to rely on interruptive display ads to get people’s attention.”

Going into the future our knowledge of the internet will snowball, leaving us an even broader arsenal of things to tinker with, sparking a paradigm shift from “what can the internet do?” to “What should we do with it?”

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This question is already being answered on a global scale, by social commentators, scientists, and authors, however none know how the human race will react to such drastic changes, only time will tell. It’s an interesting time to be living, on the precipice of global transformation. We will have the privilege of being a part of a generation who will die in world so absurdly different to the one we were born into, and we may even be the last to experience the beauty of both.



Ever wondered what would happen if you gave a half-crazed, semi-concussed, unstoppable maverick a platform to write about social media? Follow him @LeoAtSMF


Contact us on Twitter, on Facebook, or leave your comments below. To find out about social media training or management why not take a look at our website for more info http://socialmediacambridge.co.uk/.

What Does the Future Hold for Social Media? Reviewed by Leo Donnelly on Monday, April 27, 2015 Rating: 5

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