The future of social media is a topic of endless conversation with many differing opinions. The truth is that no one knows what the future will bring, but that doesn’t stop anyone from putting in their two cents. One thing I can tell you for sure is that things will continue to change and evolve.
Social networks have been in existence for quite some time and contrary to popular belief, Facebook was not one of the first. A social networking site called Six Degrees was founded in 1997. It allowed users to create a profile and then friend other users. After that ICQ, my Space, LinkedIn (still in existence) and others came along. Facebook didn’t exist until 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg registered thefacebook.com domain and Twitter didn’t arrive on the scene until 2006. As you can see it’s really in the last 10 years that social media has exploded on the landscape and become a worldwide phenomenon.
How are we using social networks?
- News/current affairs
- Staying in touch with friends and family
- Reconnecting with old friends
- Sharing photos/videos
- Business networking
- Connecting with people who share a hobby/interest
- Promoting products/services
- Filling spare time
- Connecting with political/public figures
Who’s using social networks?
Women and men use social media at similar rates. Young adults aged 18 – 29 are the most likely to use social media. The biggest increase in usage is among adults aged 65+. (Pew Research Center)
What will the future of social media look like?
A few trends in the future of social media are beginning to emerge.
- Instead of enormous catch-all sites like Facebook, social media sites that are vertical specific – music, cars, films, sports (or sport specific) – have huge potential.
- All social media sites will be responsive to mobile.
- Shopping on social media sites will be common.
- Businesses will encourage employees to share content.
- Targeted social media advertising will increase.
- Social video is the way of the future.
Social media is here to stay. As smoke signals eventually evolved into the mobile phone, I know social media will continue to evolve and to me, the future looks exciting.