Where is Social Media heading?

The power of the vote

Social Media and user generated content platforms have had a hand in swaying wars, elections and revolutions.

Any way I look at it from the current (web) evolutionary standpoint, social media must and will evolve. But into what? A simple new App, launched the right moment, can initiate a new species in the evolution of Social Media. As with all revolutionary developments in the world of the inter-webs, once it arrives, the world will change imperceptibly, at first but profoundly.

Social Media and user generated content platforms have had a hand in swaying wars, elections and revolutions. I’m talking here about the Arab Spring which was largely brought about through the interaction made possible by Social Media and its permeation, and persistence.

It’s become an intrinsic part of our greater communication networks, as well as occupying a massive personal space for billions of people.

Our dopamine fix and its fix

This video clip is a good preamble to the social experience of the genertion most likely to start heading for social media burnout. The obvious choice here is to self-mediate, and willingly limit your social media.

Social Media Burnout

The need to take social media to the next level…

The first question, of course, is why?

  • Because people get bored, saturated and too busy to pay attention to all but that which shouts the loudest for their attention. The effort to keep up with social media is a heavy burden to throw into an already busy day.
  • Because we are all heading for smartphone burnout in our schedules, psychologically, and physically.

Why? There are still limitations to how much a human brain can process simultaneously and with the attention it warrants. With everything 2016 humans are juggling at any given moment, social media is the water that crept into the cracks, and is expanding as it freezes creating a solid matrix of stress for us to navigate. We need to simplify answers, results, solutions.

The need to simplify

Simplification is Big these days. The trajectory of our fascination curved downwards, as we realize that once we have learned, and use new technology, it becomes indispensable and that the time and effort it occupies, become a permanent addition to our already busy schedule.

One of my favorite quotes is from the genius Mark Twain:

“I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Writing that short letter. That about sums up the task. There is much algorithmic complexity, plus the time pressures of sorting and editing data into a short, elegant and welcome answer.

Provide an Answer or Solve people’s big problems

What does this magic look like? The “invention of the microwave” of social media? Or getting the kitchen to run itself? Some things that should be factored in as almost inevitable:

Improved automation

Machines, robots or artificial sentience?

Like many of the things that become onerous in our modern life, someone will invent a device or program that will do the heavy lifting for us. We invented appliances, manufacturing machinery, and self-driving cars, we will invent AI that will represent us in all the ways that make us who we are, a profile that is a virtual Me. We have basic versions now like automatic birthday reminders and cards, but these will become far more sophisticated. Remember there was a time people remembered about 15 phone numbers in their actual memories. Now most people can remember about 3 because our phones do it for us.

A whittling down of choices

Are we spoiled for choice or, paradoxically not enough choice? Five, ten, twenty photo-sharing platforms? How much is too much to sustain interest?

Part of the simplification process is both to simplify the offerings available in each medium and the range of what’s out in the world wide media web. We are duplicating some media functions across platforms. And while this is very necessary to make each product complete it leads to exhaustion for any person using three or more kinds of social media. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram…half an hour just to share with everyone a captioned image snapped in a second.

The new killer app is Creating Time. Give people some of their time back and your product will win poll-position in the forthcoming race.

So at some point each one of us chooses. We’ve all seen the messages: “I’m going to be off [X Social media platform ]for a while.” And whether it’s done merely for millennial attention, or from genuine social media exhaustion from the stress of it all, the result is twofold:

More of us recognize social media burnout, and leaving our devices off becomes a real option when it wouldn’t have been an option a year or two ago.

The platforms begin to loser numbers. The attempt to save the bottom line will result in marketing and commerce having to be more elegantly embedded in social media posts. Anything you see you can buy immediately. It will be heavily suggested anyway.

A new media to rule them all

What this might be, I don’t know. But it will be. And it will involve the next wave of Search paired with Service. It’s inevitable that someone will build a better mousetrap. Solve people’s big problems and the world will beat a path to your startup.

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