Social media is a toddler

‘Last night, Compuserve turned this computer into a travel agent for Jennie’

- PC Mag, October 1984.

32 years ago, PC Mag were heralding in a new age of consumer communication and behaviour, influenced by this newfangled idea called the internet.

I am stunned to see advertisements like the one above, showing just how far tech has come since those early days of the information superhighway. We are now able to use VR to walk around airplane cabins, towns and cruise ships and take this for granted!

Fast forward to the early Noughties, and social media took root, with ‘The Facebook’, Myspace and Friendster becoming household names.

The rise of Mobile in the Twenty Tens has changed everything again. Everybody now has the ability to be a content creator, with industry-standard cameras in their back pockets to Snap, Facebook Live or Periscope away.

Since dropping the ‘The’, Facebook has aged up, with everyone and their gran now on the platform. This, coupled with the development of targeted adverts has given marketers a huge opportunity.

I am a huge advocate of Facebook and Instagram’s ad platforms and feel there is so much potential to improve the product.

I do fear that Facebook ads will go the way of Google Adwords in the coming years, with big price hikes as marketing teams around the world switch on to the opportunity. But for now, Facebook and Instagram are where it’s at.

What has become clear though, is how early we are on this social journey. In human terms, social media is a toddler with many years of growth and development to look forward to.

Reading news on TechCrunch and Mashable, it’s honestly difficult to keep up with the advancements that forward thinking startups are making all around the world. I plan to visit Disrupt at some stage soon, to live and breath a real life version of HBO’s hit show, Silicon Valley.

So, what is the opportunity for travel marketing specifically?

Digital is where it’s at, and will continue to be. The perfect storm created by social networks with their time-constrained Millennial users has seen time-saver review apps such as Yell, TripAdvisor and OpenRice dramatically increase their user base and continue to innovate to stay ahead of the pack. Constant innovation is a must though, or these platforms will fall behind the competition.

Just last week, the big four of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram all added dramatic new features in a bid to keep their user base engaged.

Social truly is in its very early days, with massive opportunities for travel marketers to get in and take advantage of over indexed attention on new, breakthrough platforms.

I wonder, in another 30 years how advertisements such as Facebook’s first foray into TV below will be looked at by our kids?

Nico Spyrou

All views expressed are my own.

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