Advocacy of Future Social Media Technology: Innovation is a Group Effort
Today, as citizens of the global age, we are exposed to a myriad of different technologies and social networks as products of the internet and innovation. From our near total reliance on social media as a means of building social capital or strengthening relationships on apps such as Tinder, to the increased, but surprisingly deliberate, exposure of our daily lives on Snapchat and Instagram, technology is continuing to merge with our identity as humans. While this continuous innovation may seem to hold many drawbacks for us humans, it does hold many benefits, such as ease of communication and bigger personal networks. So, what means are necessary in order to encourage and contribute to innovation? What future technologies can we expect to come into our lives soon? And finally, who are the players that contribute to this innovation? This article aims to discuss some possible answers and my personal insight on these questions, as well as the issue of advocating for better technology.
A key figure in the technological segment and a crucial part of our everyday lives, Facebook leads the social media market with the power it wields as a social network and as a future technology innovator. In FastCompany’s article “Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Bold Plan For The Future Of Facebook”, the CEO, Zuckerberg, explains the many goals he has for his company, in addition to the numerous technologies he is currently interested in and believes will be the future of communication and social interaction.
One of his particular interests, Virtual Reality, is becoming more and more of an achievable dream for consumers, with companies such as Samsung and Google tapping into the technology to be used in conjunction with their mobile devices. Zuckerberg pursued this interest by acquiring Oculus VR in 2014 for a wopping $2-billion. He believes that “VR [virtual reality] will be the next major computing platform, supplanting phones the same way that handheld devices usurped desktops”. Aside from it’s current gaming capabilities, Zuckerberg “has bigger ideas in mind for what Oculus could become”, including aspects of communication and media. With the initial goal of catering the Oculus VR towards hard-core gamers, expect to see this form of future technology very soon.
Nowadays, many companies, including Facebook and Google, hold “hackathons” to generate new ideas and inspire innovation. In a Hackathon, people join in groups or teams to solve a problem or propose an idea/product through code. The results usually take in the form of a mobile app, webpage, or program. While no hacking is actually involved (usually), teams do need to know how to code and require rigorous brainstorming in order to arrive at their solution. Many times, there are prizes and contests involved to add incentive. Nevertheless, many people join solely for the fun of competing against other teams, using their wit, all while making new friends in a unique environment filled with tension, community, and caffeine. In the medium.com article “WTF is a Hackathon?”, Dave Fontenot defines the brilliance of hackathons very well — “To sum it up, at a hackathon, people come together and use technology to transform ideas into reality”.
As a member of the pro-sumer age, wherein consumers have now become the producers of content, I also play a role in innovating future technologies. With the help of big companies, such as Google and Facebook, who push for innovation in the form of R&D or research and development on new technology, such as VR, in addition to holding “hackathons” and other similar events that promote youth to engage in innovating new ideas for the future, I too can contribute by supporting this movement towards the future. By joining hackathons or supporting startup companies, we are investing in the future of technology and the future of consumerism. Similarly, by consuming new products such as VR we are supporting these new fields so that producers such as Oculus and Facebook will continue to improve these technologies.