The Future of Social Media

The enterprise of the future (whether private or public sector, large or small) will use social media extensively as a normal part of its day-to-day activities. Just as communication with social media is becoming something that we take for granted in our personal lives, so too will it become normal in our work environments.

The increased use of social media in individual functional areas of the organization is expected to merge as it progresses. This will lead to increased opportunities for improvement, based on exploiting opportunities for organization-wide collaboration and sharing of information.

Our day is populated with up-to-the-second news of what president-elect Trump will do next. This timely case study does raise the question…as powerful as social media is today in our private and business lives, what does the future hold for this platform? Before I look to the future let’s briefly look back. In my youth the word “social” meant going outside to play hide and seek with my friends.  In  my 20’s “connected” meant you owned a thing called a “Portable Bag Cell Phone” which weighed 8 to 10 lbs and was an affordable alternative (at $1800) to the “flip phone” which retailed for nearly $3,500. For Star Trek fans the flip was almost a must have! Then came the internet as we know it today and the mainstream platforms of digital connection were exemplified by email and blogging. Fast forward to Feb.4, 2004: Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in his Harvard University dorm room. At present the business, marketing and political landscape looks bright. But what does the crystal ball say?

Experienced marketers are looking toward the future, therefore, and thinking about the next big trends in social media marketing. Being able to predict future developments before they happen is the goal for many firms that hope to beat the competition and enhance their business. Social media especially is constantly changing, and in 2017, experts predict a potentially more substantial shift than in the past. Social may just take over the marketing industry as a whole, and many promising features are poised to catch attention for brands among consumers. Social media may still have a long way to evolve, which implies we will continue to be surprised by changes that present themselves in the coming years, but one thing will sure become a strong factor, and its not just technical advancements  but also development of more customer focused social media strategy, social media is changing to refocus on the customer experience. CapitalOne as one of the largest banks is on top of the trend, making a massive investment in creative talent, and relying more on creating customer friendly experience. During my conversation with Rob Alexander,Chief Information Officer during Design Thinkers in Toronto, he explained “Banking is the most ripe industry for disruption, the winners will be the ones that become customer focused technology business and not remain as an old school banking company.” Alexander predicted a massive change by banks around tracking realtime data about their operations and then making decisions based on what they find. They also want to interact with customers in a more dynamic ways around this data.

In 2013, comedian Bryan Callen, asked UFC heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub to do a podcast with him in his garage. The two were good friends, and Bryan noticed that Brendan had a natural comedic instinct, that could crack up a whole room. While both were moderately successful in their profession, nothing could prepare them for the heights their new show would soon reach. In three short years, the podcast has grown into one of the top 10 sports podcasts on Itunes. Podcasting has allowed the pair to have a stable income, while they pursue other interests. Acting and fighting are no longer their main source of income, and they can rely on income generated from their podcast. The podcast generates revenue from ad reads on the show, with many companies relying on podcasts to generate new customers. Bryan Callen had this to say about the future of social media. What’s really cool about the whole business of internet is it makes it easier and easier to have your own autonomy. The show has produced over 200 episodes, and spun off into various other side projects. Other businesses can look at The Fighter and The Kid, as inspiration to step into the future of social media.

While no one can actually predict the future, we can use past knowledge and current trends to guess what might happen. Social Media is no different. In a podcast with the Social Media Examiner, Rohit Bhargava discusses his book, Non Obvious. He considers “a trend to be an observation about the accelerating present. That means there are signs of something already happening that will become more important”.1 A great example to review is Spectacles by Snap Inc. This new gadget considers past, current and futuristic trends. Snap uses a medium that all people are familiar with wearing (sunglasses) to capture quick videos for social sharing. Snapchat (its former name) already recognized that capturing video upright is more intuitive because people hold mobile phones that way. Snapchat was a trendsetter when it made upright videos acceptable.2 Spectacles operate via Bluetooth and load video content to your mobile device. Their creation of circular video (which captures both vertical and horizontal orientations simultaneously) is very innovative. When the viewer plays the video on a mobile device they can rotate it in any direction and it will display accordingly. Videos for entertainment and information are here to stay and they will inevitably carry us forward. Whether we’re watching live camera feeds around the world, funny YouTube videos or Tasty how-to food clips, we’re validating this trend for the future.

In 2010 Stanford graduates, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, were named, “The nerds who made a billion in 551 days from camera app” when Mark Zuckerberg purchased their app, Instagram for $1 billion. Since day one the app has been a hit, and today it is a leading social media network with over 500 million users, including 300 million of them being active daily.

Social media has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives, whether connecting to friends or checking the latest news and entertainment in real time, our ways of communication are now drastically evolving.  Back in 2010, there were about 1 million people on social media, this number is predicted to reach 2.5 billion in 2018. For businesses, from social media marketing to brand promotion, social media is playing an increasingly significant role in corporate marketing plan. As innovative as their drones, DJI Technology set up a role model for businesses to understand the value of social media and stay up to the latest trends.

It would be safe to assume in the digital era – where everything is immediate or available with the tap of a button – that charities would have quickly implemented social media tools to allow for optimum fundraising opportunities. Oddly enough, this is not the case. In fact, far from it. Many organizations are still manually accepting and processing donations, losing out on a magnitude of funding opportunities. For non-profits looking to increase donations and expand their reach, there is no denying that the web, and more specifically social media, is the way to go and CanadaHelps is the go-to organization to get non-profits started using online promotion and fundraising. CanadaHelps is a true trailblazer when it comes to philanthropy. Dating back to its humble roots when three undergraduate students mapped out a vision that was as ground-breaking as it was prescient. In 1999, the trio developed the hard to sell concept of a web based platform that would enable Canadians to make online donations to any registered charity. After convincing major supports to back their vision, it launched in 2000 and saw more than $150,000 donated. Today the organization is connected to 16,000 registered charities in Canada and deems itself “Canada’s platform for donating and fundraising online”.

Social Media: The Future of The Relational Church

TammySabourin   November 13, 2016

Throughout history, The Church has been challenged with continuing to share its unchanging, relational message of the love of God in a world that is constantly changing.  Many churches are embracing social media as part of society’s undeniable move towards digital communications, in an effort to build relationships and maintain their voice into the future.  In his article, Communication In the Church of the Future, Christopher Harris states, “As the church we not only need to be mastering the tools of social media to connect with and communicate with society, we also have to be studying how these transitions in communication will transform how we are community and how we exist as church.” Glebe Road United Church, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a history dating back to 1851, has found great benefit in utilizing social media not only as part of building relationships through today’s ministry, but also in looking to their future.

Back in 2001, an event changed the landscape, not just locally, but for the entire world. The event in question took place on September 11th, 2001. With all that has gone on since then, Muslims in North America had to bear the brunt of the backlash, the scrutiny and in some cases, violent acts of Islamophobia. Muslims then recognized that there was a problem in their community, such as radicalism that could creep into the younger generations. Also, a lot of the outreach and connection to the public at large, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, was either non-existent, or hasn’t possessed more of an impact. In 2003, Taha Ghayyur – Organizer of Muslimfest – along with his team thought of ways in providing a positive image of his community to the broader public. Over the course of history in such parts such as Turkey, the Middle East and now in China, Islamic Art has caught the eye of the world with the intricate calligraphy, geometric patterns and shapes that make up its artistic canvas. This was the selling point that Taha and his team would use to formulate an idea that has grown to such a level that it is now known worldwide, and has just completed its 13th year in existence. Muslimfest is a community festival held out of Mississauga, Ontario and was designed to bring about the Artistic and Creative features of Islam to everyone with its educational classes, bazaar environment to shop, eat and enjoy the atmosphere for young and old alike. One of the biggest parts of the marketing strategy for Muslimfest was their social media component. Over the years, Muslimfest has welcomed and encompassed new and improved methods of social media and has effectively engaged people young, old, living in the city, outside the city and making it accessible for people all over the world, Muslim and non-Muslim. We sat down with Taha to discuss how his strategies evolved over time and what he may see in the future when it comes to his social media techniques.

Thinking about the future of social media is incredibly mind boggling to me. The pace of change and learning is moving at light speed. I mean, people can now chase down animated characters in their towns and cities by using their smart phones? Truly though, not everyone is adopting social media elements at the same speed. Some companies rely solely on social media for their marketing while others use a combination of traditional and social media techniques to get their word out. All agree however, that in the future, social media will continue to grow and change to become the primary marketing tool for all business. I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct a case interview with Captain Marc Ackert, Co-Owner of Ontario Waterway Cruises of Orillia, Ontario. He is also Captain of the Kawartha Voyageur, a 120’, 45 passenger and 13 crew cruise ship that takes guests on 5-day trips on the Rideau Canal and Trent Severn Waterway in Ontario. This family business started 35 years ago and with the average age of his passengers being 72, Marc had a lot to say about the marketing of his business. Marc agrees that “his future is now” as a new marketing strategy began last year with the updating of the website and creation of a series of online vignettes. Although many of his guests still rely on traditional marketing techniques, Marc’s new strategy for now and the immediate future will be to market to the family members and friends who have the computers, lap tops and smart phones. These will be the people who will share the information to potential cruise guests.

Social media has become much more than Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Marketers are constantly forced to find new ways to communicate with consumers and to spread their message in innovative ways. Live streaming is currently trending, making interacting between businesses and consumers more real. This live interaction with the public is becoming more favoured, because it’s stepping away from the usual commercials and advertisements, especially when it comes to brands. 

In the last decade we have watched the birth of social media, and are continuing to watch it grow and mature. In times like these, where Trump and Clinton are in a tight race for the U.S. Presidency, The UK has just voted to leave the European Union after 23 years together, and we are facing something reminiscent of the civil rights movement with #BlackLivesMatter…there’s a lot to talk about. Opinions and commentary fly free on the internet and political opinions in particular are abundant. Networks like Twitter are so full of posts, following issues in real time, that it’s not uncommon to see something on Twitter before an official article is written about it. A lot of people find it annoying to open up their Facebook pages to find the opinions of their old high school acquaintance’s neighbour’s sister on their Newsfeed. Others love engaging in a good old fashioned political debate within the comments section of a post. Trump and Hillary themselves are tweeting their way to the White House, using it to stay relevant and connect with their audience. There’s no denying, our social media world is becoming more and more political whether we like it or not.

Social media continues to change the way we experience the world, especially the way we shop and interact with brands. What does the future hold for the world of social media shopping? Behold, The Internet of Things. The future of everything is directly tied to the Internet and how fast it connects to people, places, and things. What is the IoT? Well, put simply, it’s the ability of anything to be connected to the Internet such as coffee makers, fridges, a FitBit or products in a store. All you have to do is use your imagination to see what possibilities lay before us. The Internet is completely unfettered now. In the past, you had to be physically wired to a screen in a fixed location to access the net. The advent of mobile technology changed all that, and you can access the internet anywhere, anytime, with an array of devices large and small.

Snapchat Snapchat is one of the newer social media platforms that is taking the business world by storm. Still in it’s “toddler” stage at only 2 years old, the social app has more than 200 million active users per month and more than half of them use it daily. 10 billion videos are viewed each day – to any business big or small this should read as 10 billion opportunities to build brand awareness. So what does this app have that other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do not? It mimics real life the most when it comes to interaction. When you have a conversation with someone on Snapchat it stays between the two people involved and then disappears shortly after leaving only a memory. Too many people have learned the hard way that with other social media platforms what gets put on the internet stays on the internet whether you want it to or not. In the words of the companies CEO Evan Spiegel, “The essence of conversation is not which media format we choose to talk to each other with, so we don’t differentiate between snaps and chats. It’s just someone wanting to talk to you… for Snapchat, the closer we can get to ‘I want to talk to you’ – that emotion of wanting to see you and then seeing you – the better and better our product and our view of the world will be.” Having surpassed  Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as the most popular social media platform of choice, how can it be used to benefit people in the business world to generate brand awareness and customer engagement?

His head thrashes side to side at night for hours on end while he hums loudly. Not knowing if this is normal three year old dreaming behaviour, night terrors, or signs of something more serious, his parents take to the internet to find out what they should be doing about it. You Tube specifically.  It didn’t take them long to decide to book a doctors appointment.  A year later he has a diagnosis of Epilepsy and his symptoms are being managed to reduce long term effects. This is a great example of how social media is currently playing a role in preventative health care and alerts us to the potential expansion in this area.

Chances are if you have used a wearable device or sat in traffic and had to use Waze on your smartphone, you have already been apart of The Internet of Things. Wikipedia defines The internet of things (IoT) as the network of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. So when we talk about the future of social media, the internet of things must also be included in the conversation. IoT has the potential to change what it means to be social. We can see this first hand in the mobile traffic app, Waze. By linking internet connected smartphones to traffic signals, cameras, people, data and other systems, the network helps drivers optimize their journeys in real time.

Who remembers ICQ and MSN Messenger? Back in my youth, that was the way friends and family generally stayed in touch virtually. In the early 2000’s things slowly started to change…let’s say for the better! Myspace, Hi5, and Friendster were introduced and it took the world by storm. People were able to generate personal profiles, share photos, music and more with friends and loved ones around the world. Facebook soon followed and eventually took over and blew away its fellow social media competitors and has managed to stay on top! Why? At first, its features were very much like its cousin Myspace. However, Facebook began to grow and develop with the changing times of the social network world and the development of technology. Youtube eventually came along as well. This platform took flight as being one of the first social media sites primarily focused on videos. Finally, people had a place to upload, store, and share videos with friends, family, and the rest of the world. Social Media platforms that are able to consistently stay relevant are those that were able to keep up with the social needs of its users. As accessibility became mobile, the platforms that still exist today are the ones who were able to adapt to that change. Many of us are glued to our mobile phones, so if your platform is not mobile-friendly, or just simply can’t keep up, it may just have a hard time getting off its feet. One great example is Friendster, the social media platform has decided to “take a break” last year in June 2015 as they “rethink their strategic priorities”.

Social media by its nature is about collaborating, networking, sharing and generating knowledge and content. It has transformed the way we interact with one another. According to a report by the Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson Learning Solutions, faculty members’ use of social media has been steadily increasing since the survey was first conducted in 2010. (Wired for teaching) Online learning has been popular for quite a long time, but the inclusion of social media is something that’s relatively new. Could social media play a more central role in education especially in online education in the future?

Social media has come a long way since its debut with Friendster in 2002 and MySpace in 2003. Back then, no one could have predicted the exact future of social media, not even the most forward-thinking genius. Or have they? One young entrepreneur might have understood the importance of prediction and automation a while ago…

Social media has helped create a world of wants, image and envy. On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc.., over and over people are given channels to present themselves to the world, however they want. It’s contributed to a new phenomenon, coined ‘Facebook Depression’. It’s also given businesses a window to fuel that image obsessed mentality. As social media continues to adapt and advance, it also molds it audience. It can create a longing and desire that we didn’t have before, simply by being exposed to it, or by it being implied enough that it’s something we want. When individuals we look up to, or friends tell us how great something is, we are being both obviously and subliminally being impacted. 

When someone says the words “social media” often the first thing that comes to mind are sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. While these social networking services are definitely an extremely popular— and important—part of social media, the true definition of encompasses much more than just social networking. “Social Media is the future of communication, a countless array of internet based tools and platforms that increase and enhance the sharing of information.“ – SocialMediaDefined.com It is undeniable then that as social media continues to grow and adapt, it increasingly presents new opportunities for businesses to engage with their customers. Companies are always looking for new ways to market their products and sometimes the opportunity exists to reach to consumers in a way that puts them in control of the interaction.

Imagine for a moment a world without crimes.  Sounds like something right out of the movie ‘Minority Report’ right?  This movie starring Tom Cruise looks into the not so distant future 2054 A.D. when crime is virtually eliminated, thanks to an elite law enforcing squad called “Precrime”.  They did this using three gifted humans (called “Pre-Cogs”)  that have special powers who see into the future and predict crimes before they happen. [1] Even my favorite show Person of Interest plays into this obsession.  For those who haven not seen this show it’s about “The Machine”- a futuristic man made system used to predict violent acts through analyzing various government agency feeds, combined with data collected from various other sources, including video footage, phone calls,GPS, electronic transactions, e-mail, and social media helps its inventor to stop crime before it actually happens.[2] Please take a look. Yes these are fictional representations, however they are not a far stretch of what is actually happening today.  Are we really living in a police state where big brother is watching our every move?  This blog will highlight some of the technologies used by police forces around the world,, and  like it or not they are accessing your social media posts to  do so. “Big Brother is Watching You.” ― George Orwell, 1984 Researching this topic I have learnt that countries around the world are adopting technologies and software to further their pursuit to stop crimes before they happen. These proprietary systems are using public data though various social networks and running it through their algorithms to detect possible threats. Recently, there has been a huge wave of organizations predictive software.  The new approach to policing is that it has shifted from being good at reacting to crime to becoming better at predicting it. Here are just a few examples of technologies out there that are providing new arsenal for policing around the globe.  Honestly, I am not so convinced that these types of artificial intelligence systems can formulate an opinion about a person based on what they post on Facebook, I guess you can draw your own conclusions.

  Social Media screening of candidates has become common practice in today’s fast passed recruiting process. Is it ethical, or does this behavior infringe on ones freedom of speech, and how efficient is it really?

At this point, many people are likely using Snapchat just for fun. Business Insider reported in Summer 2015 that nearly half of the app’s users were under the age of 24 years old (while only 19 percent of Twitter users, and 16 percent of Facebook’s are of the same age demographic). That’s huge! So Snapchat possesses a massive chunk of the 18 to 24 year old age group, and while right now, many of those people are using it to share videos of their dogs, clips from the big concert, or shots using the face swap lens…at some point one could see them wanting more.  

Everyday there are creative people all over the world working towards building new futuristic inventions and making advances in the world of technology.  This week I will be exploring the Future of Social Media and its relation to these new inventions.  There are many different directions to go in, when talking about a topic like this, so I will try to give you as much useful content as I can. What do you think of when I say the words the evolution of social media? And more importantly what does the future hold for us with its use? With social platforms at our disposal,  company’s are changing the way they conduct business, thus impacting the way society functions.  Social Media is being used as a tool to aid in every aspect of the business chain yet one area that still hasn’t made much headway are the CEO’s of today and how they are using Social Media to interact with their customers. I will also share with you some insight about amazing advancements in the digital world and end with a brief discussion on the importance of providing true content when putting out posts.