I can’t believe 7 weeks have come and gone and I’m in my last week of my COM 5100: Social Media Theory and Concepts class at KSU, time just flies by so fast when you’re having fun :). During these past 7 weeks I have learned so much about social media theories and concepts and it has me thinking a lot about the future of social media and what could be the next big trend. For one, I don’t think social media is a fad and I do believe it’s here to stay! Which is why I am so glad to have a professor as fabulous as Dr. Hutchins who encourages us to use social media for our class, she showed me how to start a blog, uses hashtags for class discussion–how cool is that?!?! and many other amazing things. This year has been a breaking record year for social media sites, and according to Aj Agrawal, by 2016 there are expected to be over 2 billion users on social media sites.
There are 4 areas in particular that I believe will grow even more over the next few years and will have a huge effect on social media:
- Visual Social Media
I remember a time when MySpace was the coolest thing on the web…oh how times have changed. Facebook was definitely the biggest game changer, then came twitter and its 140 character messages, but I believe visual story telling is where the future of social media is headed–if it’s not already there. It started with Instagram but I think what truly influenced visual social media even more was Snapchat. Pictures and short videos are not just fun and entertaining, but they help an audience to visualize how they would use a product or service. It’s just an easy way to inform a target audience about a specific topic. I believe companies will start using visual social media more and more. I also noticed that Instagram already started allowing companies to link a picture to a website where the audience can purchase whatever was shown in the image right away. It’s a great marketing option.
2. NFC Technology
Not a lot of people may think of NFC (Near Field Communication) when talking about the future of social media. But being that NFC chips are now in a lot of smartphones, I believe there is going to be a way of using NFC in a more social way. Over the past few years, I find that my “social media world” and my “real wold” have become more intertwined. I believe there is going to be a time where companies will use NFC technology to transfer coupons and offer other special promotions to its followers on their smartphones. Mobile technology has had such a huge influence on the growth of social media that I believe NFC technology will also play a huge role. I first got interest in NFC technology when Apple Pay was announced for the iPhone 6 last year, a service I now use very frequently and enjoy a lot.
Wearable technology had some bumps in the road when they first came to life having to deal with high price tags, not very accurate measurements and not very fashionable options, all which lead to a 30% return rate and high product abandonment after 6 months. But things have certainly changed since then, according to Elizabeth Harper, the wearable industry is now predicted to be a $12 billion market by 2018, with a compound annual growth rate of 78.4%–pretty impressing if you ask me! I have personally used wearable technology such as the Fitbit, the Apple Watch and the Jawbone Up 2. All though I enjoyed wearing them all, I think there’s still lots of room for growth. I wouldn’t be surprised if future generations of wearable technology will be standalone devices that will no longer need to be connected to our smartphones. I believe that the future of wearable technology will be embedded into our everyday utensils such as our tooth-brush, our mirror at home, our clothes, there’s even talk about wearable technology that will help us to get in a better mood. I think the future of wearable technology is unimaginable and amazing!
This brings me to my last point, data. I believe that wearable technology will lead to an amazing collection of data if analyzed properly. The main reason I would want to use a wearable device is to be able to learn from the data it collects. But I do wonder how secure this data is and who actually owns it. I hope that the future will make users realize how valuable the data that they produce by using social media and their wearable technology is, and that there is going to be more talk about who owns the data. Imagine if we could willingly “sell” our own data and improve our income by doing so, I’d love to at least have that option to do so. I also wonder how this data could may be used against me in the court of law… I absolutely believe that collecting this data can be very beneficial to humankind, I just hope that the users rights will be respected.
As you might be able to tell, I have thought a lot of the future of social media. I’d like to know your thoughts about what the future may bring and if you agree with some of my ideas.