It’s safe to say that social media has become a huge, thriving community on its own, that is starting to function almost independently and has seen massive growth in a very short span of time. Today, no matter who you are, how old you are or where you are, you’ve got to have at least some form of identity on social media. The number of available platforms is only increasing by the day, and the platforms are getting bigger, better and more detailed.
The online world is a rather fast-moving and multi-faceted one. Social media is breaking limitations and barriers almost on a daily basis, which makes one wonder if the world is headed towards complete digitalization. Brands are more focused now on Facebook comments and Instagram views. The avenues are endless, and the connectivity is quick and easy, making it fairly accessible to almost the whole world. The bridge has been built, and the world has shrunk in size, but what is the future of social media?
Let’s take a look at a few predictions for 2018 and beyond:
1. Dedicated online communities which will function pretty much the way clubs and groups do, but without the need for actual meetings and. Interactions face to face. This would entail meetings through large capacity video conferences and multiple chat forums, connecting people from all over the world at the same time. And while these types of groups already do exist, they’re mostly informal in nature. The change will bring about even formal and official groups, maybe even government organizations, using these platforms to conduct conferences and group meetings.
2. The rate at which e-books are growing in popularity, there’s a chance that physical books might go completely out of circulation in the near future. This would mean social media would be buzzing with e-book launches, new releases, more and more marketplaces to purchase these books and so on. The e-book market is quite a potential one, with many avid readers preferring to carry their books around with them in the convenience of their phones or tablets. However, this complete shift might take quite some time, because there are still a lot of readers who prefer paper books, which they insist is still the more preferred method of reading.
3. With personalized feeds, social media users will be able to choose what exactly they want to see on their newsfeeds, rather than let the platform create a feed for them and not offer the customising option. This is something that a lot of users would root for because there are several instances when they’re shown news or content that they simply scroll past or have no keen interest in. This would also mean that brands and influencers would seriously have to up their game so that users choose to include them in their personalized newsfeeds. Now, whether or not this personalization is made an optional change or not is something we’ll have to wait and see.
4. Chatbots are going to be much more rampant and in demand, eliminating the need for their human counterpart solutions. These chatbots would take care of feedback, reviews, live customer care communication, replying to consumers’ comments and tags, and so on. These chatbots would probably even have personalized apps of their own, wherein users wouldn’t have the need to log into any social media platform to be able to interact with them. Either way, these bots are certainly going to be a part of the online revolution.
5. Theme based interfaces have been around for a long time, but not so much on social media platforms. The increasing need for platforms that look and feel more personal and unique is seeing a rise, which is why social media avenues might soon come with the option of adding a custom theme to their profile and accounts. This would be a great selling point, especially for the millennials, who are all about being different and experimental. The more personal the experience feels, the more preference it’s going to get.
6. Businesses have already taken to social media with a lot of enthusiasm and have made digital marketing an integral part of their promotional plans. In the future, there will be a lot more social platforms on the internet dedicated solely to marketing brands and/or services and enterprises. The need for aggressive marketing has only increased over time, and digital marketplaces facilitate this exponential growth to a large extent. A lot of start-up brands have managed to reach a larger target audience group in a short period of time because of online marketing, which is why this trend is definitely going to see more growth in the future.
7. Online-first launches and online-only stores are definitely going to be a reality, which many established and new brands deciding to completely ditch having physical stores and only focusing on virtual ones. What would this mean? Online shopping will now become the ultimate substitute for shopping in malls and carrying bags around, which might prove great for virtual stores but not so much for physical ones. This move has been anticipated for quite some time now and is seeing a very short timeline towards becoming an actuality.
8. Paid apps, services, and special privileges are definitely going to see a rise, as the online market also sees a surge in demand and numbers. At the moment, a lot of social media services are free and can be accessed by anyone and everyone with an internet connection. However, if the move from offline to online does happen on a more large-scale, then brands and firms are definitely going to want to capitalize on the opportunity and make more revenue from it. So, some services might turn into paid subscriptions, which might not bode well for most users.
There are a lot of theories revolving around social media and where it might be taking our civilization. Along with basic human evolution, the evolution of social media has also become a study of its own, because its expansion and advancements are definitely going to make an even bigger impact in the future.