Most of us have grown so accustomed to social media being a part of our lives that it seems strange to think about it as a “new” phenomenon – but it is. In less than 10 years, a handful of niche sites catering to small populations have turned into dozens of apps and platforms that connect the majority of the world’s population.
It’s natural to think of these establishments as continuing to exist in their current forms – yeah, Facebook might redesign its layout, or we might see the occasional new platform arise from time to time, but for the most part, the average user envisions the current landscape of social media staying more or less the same. I, on the other hand, feel like social media is just now stepping into its teen or adolescent years and is about to find itself for the first time.
I think social media still has a long way to evolve, and marketers like us need to be ready for those changes if we’re going to survive. But let’s not get lost in the minutiae of how we might be able to post, or what the next trendy app might look like. Instead, I want to present six high-level possibilities for social media’s next phase of evolution.
I could see one platform coming to dominate the social media landscape, much in the way that Google came to dominate the world of online search. Right now, the social media front-runner is clearly Facebook, so I’ll use Facebook to illustrate how this could go.
Already, Facebook has purchased a major contender (Instagram), and it’s only a matter of time before it acquires more platforms. Gradually, these individual platforms could morph and blend into a single all-in-one social experience. It would take years to accomplish this with minimal user disruption, but it’s a possibility.
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