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?
The media itself has been the news lately. The Trump campaign has made the press headline news. This conversation is not new. Since ancient Rome when important announcements were carved out on stone tablets and placed in busy squares, the public has measured the quality, delivery and merit of information/content. We are a society obsessed with being “in the loop” and up to date with news that is important to us. This is evidenced by the ubiquitous and near-constant use of electronic devices. I chose The Hamilton Spectator, one of Canada’s oldest newspapers and media outlets, for this week’s case study. I wanted to know how TheSpec.com measures their performance using web and social media metrics.
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.
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.