Why Social media will evolve or… die.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Since the invention of the steam power engine, internet might be one of the biggest invention of the 20th century that changed the world in a way that things would never be the same. And the world got hit by a second wave called Social Media. Today Social Media is a trendy and big topic. But did you know that if Social Media does not evolve fast, it might die one day? At least the way we know it today.

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2003, everything started

When in August 2003, Myspace launched its platform, they could not see how the world would evolve towards a higher degree of relationship interactivity. Even when Facebook was launched in february 2004, they would never imagine to reach 900 million registered users 8 years later.

Today the Socia Media Era is well establish and even companies do not wonder if they should go for it or not but how should they play it. When it comes to statistics, Social Media becomes larger than a lifetime. In average in one year:

  • We will share more than 400 pieces of content on Facebook
  • spend 23 minutes a day on Twitter
  • check in 563 times on Foursquare
  • upload 196 hours o videos on Youtube

In the world we count 2.8 billion social profiles all platforms blended. Blogs are also very important. There are more than 70 million blogs on WordPress and 39 million on Tumblr. 4 out of 5 internet users check regularly a social platform and almost 50% of them have shared brand-related content. From the professional side:

  • 75% of companies now use Twitter
  • 40% of CEO’s label Social Media as a high priority
  • 90% of communication agencies will focus on Facebook Advertising in 2012.


Everybody is social

So 2012 will be Social or not. 🙂 But if we take a good look on how people interact on social media, we can see that things are not so obvious. When we know that only 3% of internet users are responsible for almost 70% of the content published, we realize that most of the time we are just reviewers, watchers or readers. So we spend a lot of time online socializing, sharing, liking, commenting, retweeting or just consulting our profiles and pages. We cumulate more and more friends, followers, readers and fans. Can we be friend with the entire world? Facebook has now 900 million users. Can we all be friends?

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So what happened with the 1990’s idea of Global village? The rise of internet and the democratization of technology brought us from the idea of Global village towards the concept of Global theater, in which we put on stage our lives. These lives are seen by dozens or even hundreds of friends simultaneously.

We spend more and more time checking what our friends status are, what are they doing, watching, sharing, saying rather than interacting with them. So instead of opening the social possibilities of a person, the social networks tend to generate a global monolog and the relationships can be summarized by a one way process. We miss so much of socialization time that fortunately for the users, the machines tell people what you do: “Bob likes this page”, “Janet shared a link”… we do not have enough time to say these messages ourselves as we are too busy in checking all our friends status :-(. Do we have too much “friends”?

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I think the idea of Global village, or citizen of the world does not mean that we want to be friends with the entire world. It means that we have friends all over the planet. Which is a very different idea.

Because most of social networks believes the contrary, we attend to a both simplification and standardization of the networks. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube,etc… became so global that there are few and few free room for customization and personal self-expression. What is global “politically correct”? Hard to determine. So everything that becomes a little borderline (based on what???) is squeezed from the wires.

Less is more

The future of social media will evolve towards a smaller scale. The social giants like Facebook and Twitter will become more and more global social dashboards in which companies and people will run their businesses or local communities. We will limit our friends and probably segment our friends throughout the specific networks rather than having everybody in the same bag. Eg: Family on Facebook, friends on Twitter and Tumblr and professional relationships on LinkedIn.

Can we follow the life of hundreds of friends? No we cannot as w cannot take 100 phone calls at the same time. So the idea will be to be more focused, to choose your themes and probably socialize via labels, topics or even centre of interests.

What are the wishes of people for the future of social networks? Social Media will be:

  • exclusively mobile
  • very personal
  • a non-brands land
  • creating new opportunities
  • simple to use
Facebook becomes more and more the standard but its reign will not last. Let’s remember history.
  • 1998, everybody fears the monopoly of Microsoft because of the connection Internet Explorer – the operating system. Today? no more.
  • 2000, Time Warner and AOL merge. Monopoly of the web? Today no more.
  • 2007, Google is accused of web monopoly because 70% of web searches comes from Google tools. Today? Social Media changed the face of search.
  • End of 2012, Facebook will approach 1 billion users… the beginning of the end?

mobile-social-networking

If we have a close look on online trends within the next 5 years what can we say?
  • the next 100 million users will be mobile users
  • Online and Off-line experiences will be linked
  • Social networks will solve searches that Search engines cannot
  • Brands will use Social networks for Customer service activities rather than advertising purposes
  • People wants to be part of the content, not only read it but being the hero!
So we can see that today’s social networks are not adapted to these previous topics and will need to evolve… or die trying.
info sourced in wikipedia, journaldunet, mashable website, NPD web stats. All images are copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.

 

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