I’ve had some brain busting meetings recently with some great minds in the digital world and there’s one question that I keep being asked – what do you see as the future of social media? This usually raises a smile from me not just because it’s a really good question, but it can also be a subjective one. So here’s my take on it. Social’s become the adopted platform of the majority, validated by people now asking you socially to Facebook them or DM them apposed to dropping them an email. But to look at the future of social we need to look at the tech that we use to access our social networks – mobile.
Mobile is said to account for something in the region of 60-65% of all traffic to Facebook. Looking at my Twitter feed through Hootsuite I can also see what platform people are using to update their status and the majority are third party apps for mobile devices. So there’s already a good argument for mobile being the game changer for social, something Facebook are taking seriously as they focus on it this year.
Reports also suggest that mobile users tend to be more social than desktop users (see this interesting infographic for this and more stats). This is an interesting statistic when you start to look at the way people are interacting with new technologies. As smart phones become the norm people are increasing their use of social media as it becomes easier to do so, especially in their downtime (or away from the bosses prying eyes!). Add to this the tablet and there is further scope for interaction away from the desktop. Having recently got an iPad I’ve rarely turned my Macbook on, instead preferring to update my Facebook status through my iPad (app please!!).
And speaking of iGadgets you can’t not mention apps. As it becomes standard practice to share news stories by the click of a button, more apps are starting to integrate ‘like’ and ‘share this’ buttons to their sites. Some do this better than others (check out the amazing Flipboard on the iPad) but all will do this sooner rather than later. And in some way this is the most exciting aspect – turning Facebook and Twitter into your own news source, following the channels, Tweeters and media that interest you the most, whilst also allowing you to become the journalist.
Social is here to stay and the future is very exciting. Whereas ‘checking in’ was once seen as the major change in mobile (and still is by some), the lack of interest in Foursquare and Facebook check in’s suggest otherwise. At the time I write this there are rumours that Facebook is to introduce it’s own Groupon platform, so there may also be another game changer soon. But for now mobile offers the most interesting advancement in the social arena.