The Future of Social Media – Where are we headed?

KSurette    November 19, 2014

UCL  Social Deviant   LinkedIn

Organizations Names: University College London / Social Deviant / LinkedIn

Industry: Social Media

Name of contacts: Ilya Zheludev / Marc Landsberg / Reid Hoffman

Web references: University College London / Social Deviant / LinkedIn

Social media has undeniably become a part of everyday life for many people. It touches the life of almost everyone in every corner of the world in some form or another. In our personal lives and in our interactions at work, engaging in social media has become second nature. We keep track of family and friends through our Facebook pages; our professional contacts through LinkedIn. We increasingly purchase items online. Organizations engage their employees and customers through blogs, wikis, and YouTube. We communicate through online chat clients. We engage with our political leaders through online resources. Because of all the activity and engagement in social media, it has evolved from its beginnings, and will continue to evolve to remain relevant. What are some of the exciting things to come, and what are the things we should be wary of? What will the future of social media look like?


The Jetsons – a futuristic TV show from the early 60s

What do the experts say?
Ilya Zheludev sees social media as a huge source of information. In 2012, Ilya was a PhD researcher in the Financial Computing Department of the University College London. UCL developed SocialSTORM, a data mining and analytics engine, for use by researchers to acquire data from social media streams, and run simulation models to identify changing trends and global sentiment. Ilya and colleagues used the data acquired by Social STORM for trading applications, although it could be used in other business settings. {Source: Mining Social Data with UCL’s SocialSTORM Platform}

For Ilya, social media is going through an amalgamation, where something posted on one platform appears on multiple platforms.

Post something on Twitter and it appears on your Facebook. Post something in a blog and it appears on your LinkedIn.

In a 2012 presentation about his SocialSTORM projects, Ilya cites 2000 tweets per second being posted in social media (175 million per day), and that doesn’t include blog entries. For Ilya, most of those postings are polluted with junk messages. For him, the evolution of social media is to gather meaningful information/data from all that social traffic, and then apply in a way that relates to each participant in social media.

Your phone will tell you how your friends are feeling, what movies you should see based on what your friends are saying without even asking them.

But Ilya cautions that we should be cautious about how intrusive social media becomes in our lives.

Everyone is always staring at a phone, even when they’re with friends or colleagues or relatives. We need to strike some sort of balance. We need to analyse and look at what social media gives us, but also what it takes away.

For Marc Landsberg, the future of social media is about being authentic and being real. Marc is the Founder and CEO of Social Deviant, a social media agency dedicated to creating value for brands in a socially connected world. {Source: Social Deviant}

According to Marc, for organizations to succeed in social media, they need to innovate and invest in forward-thinking technology-driven marketing. Marc gives the example of Warby Parker, an American brand of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses that sells primarily online with a limited number of showrooms. A colleague of Marc’s need to replace his glasses while travelling, and sent an email to Warby Parker asking how he could go about it. What he received was an email with a personalized 90-second video thanking him for the question and explaining what he needed to do.

Simple things that smart companies can do, that put the customer at the centre, can innovate and use social to create content that connects.

For Marc, social media in the future will be driven by personal choice, and hardware will play an increasingly important role in how individuals interact and get the most out of social media.

AlleyWire interview with Marc Landsberg

For Social Deviant, brands are stories and stories are content. The aim is to help brands tell their stories in a way that people want to hear them. For the most part, Marc believes the larger organizations are becoming more effective at social media marketing. They have learned the importance of attracting the younger generation that has grown up surrounded by social media, and using their talents to tap into the power of social media.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks, or can you introduce new dogs into the kennel? The latter is easier. If I want to move from an advertiser to an always-on content publisher, who do I need to, what talent do I need to do that?

For Reid Hoffman, the future of social media is in determining how it can evolve in a way that it creates value for those who are engaged in it, in whatever form.

Reid is an internet entrepreneur, and has been involved in social media, in one form or another, since the mid-90s. Best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, a social network used primarily for business connections, Reid was also instrumental in the success of PayPal. Reid is also a very successful angel investor, and was an early investor in Facebook, Zynga, Flickr, Airbnb and other social media successes. {Source: Wikipedia}

Bloomberg TV: Hoffman Revealed – Bloomberg Game Changers

Reid has witnessed the evolution of the web, and the rise of social media.

Charlie Rose interview with Reid Hoffman, July, 2014

For Reid, the expansion of the use of smartphones around the world will naturally grow the use and proliferation of social media. But for him, its about the quality of the connections made in social media, not the quantity.

People say, “I’m overloaded. I don’t want new connections.” Well, you want new signal, not new noise. So you have to have the right filtering mechanism. {Source: Charlie Rose Talks to LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman}

CNBC interview with Reid Hoffman – The Future of Social Media, Feb. 2012

Lessons for others

Anthony Juliano, a marketing and social media strategist who teaches college classes in social media marketing, uses the evolution of television to illustrate the potential path social media could take {Source: TV’s past reveals a lot about social media’s likely future}

In the 1970’s, there was a limited number of tv networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS in the US; CBC and CTV in Canada), with equally-limited programming. Television audiences demanded more. Cable television dramatically increased the number of channels available, and the specialty programming available to viewers.

Anthony compares Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to the traditional television networks. They provide a wide breadth rather than depth of information. The emergence of niche social media sites can be compared to the cable networks, where content is explored more in-depth. For example, Anthony mentions as a source of more information for professionals in the oil and gas industry than YouTube or Facebook.

Given the opinions and advice from the social media professionals, Anthony’s analysis seems to make sense. Marc Landsberg mentions that social media will be more about personal choices; Reid Hoffman says the quality of connections made within social media will become the focus.

As they say in television, “stay tuned for the continuing story.”

University College London
Bloomberg News
Business Week

Submitted By: Kevin R. Surette – SMBP Student, University of Waterloo.

To contact the author of this entry please email:

If you have any concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance