Social Media – Where are we headed?

Lynn Jeffries    November 17, 2015

Title of Post: Social Media – where are we headed?

Industry: Business

Web references:WikipediaYouTube Social Media WeekiMedia ConnectionEntrepreneur MagazineSocial Media Examiner



Social media has been evolving since the invention of the Internet. From the first email in 1971 and Usenet in 1979 and GeoCities in 1995 which allowed users to create and set up their own home page.

However, Six Degrees is widely considered to be the first social network.

Six degrees

Six Degrees

It was named after the six degrees of separation concept and allowed users to list friends, family members and acquaintances both on the site and externally; external contacts were invited to join the site. Users could send messages and post bulletin board items to people in their first, second, and third degrees, and see their connection to any other user on the site.

Six Degrees launched in 1997 and grew to around 3,500,000 registered users and was sold to YouthStream Media Networks in 1999 for $125 million.

Unfortunately, in 1997 the internet’s infrastructure wasn’t really ready for social networking. While the website had millions of registered users, growth was limited due to the lack of people connected to the Internet.

Since then we have seen the rise and fall of other social media platforms such as Friendster and MySpace.



With technological advances since the early days, we are starting to see platforms that have a staggering amount of engagement.



If social media can accomplish this in less than 15 years, where will we be in the next 15?


Although it is impossible to predict the future we can get a sense of where it is heading based on current trends.

The below interview was conducted at Social Media Week,  with Toby Daniels, CEO, Founder and Executive Director of Social Media week.  The theme of the conference is “The Future is Now”.

According to Daniels and many others, wearable tech is huge right now. There is also the shift from promoting your brand to having a deeper engagement on social media to build your relationships.

With so many social media experts, they all have their own predictions. There are a few areas that seem to be consistent.

Increased Engagement = Additional Data

Since mobile devices are now the primary means of accessing the internet, there is an increase in social media engagement. This increase should help businesses develop more relationships. Businesses will also have access to a lot of information on their customers such as location, comments or their likes so the opportunity is there is develop more personal relationship which will build business loyalty.

Mobile and Entertainment will grow

A few years ago it was exciting to have your mobile device connected to cars but by 2025 most cars will have a browser included in their dashboard.  The Tesla Model S is the first to have mobile internet in their vehicles.


Content Marketing will grow – with help.

Previously CMS tools were very expensive and only used by larger organizations with a healthy marketing budget. This left smaller businesses at a disadvantage.

With the rising growth of entrepreneurship, technology will be available to this market so they could provide social content for marketing purposes.  One of the new technologies would include a system to set up employees or approved users where they can create publish and share content across multiple social media platforms.

What does this mean for you?

There are two things that any company that wants to take advantage of these changes should do. First, make sure your business is “in the game.” Do not wait until you feel like you know all the answers before you allocate budget. Get a head start on your competitors by increasing your investment in both mobile and social today. This will give you time to learn more and master your skills and ability to implement programs that really work.

The second thing you should do is develop a process for capturing metrics, reviewing them, and using them. Metrics are of no use to you if you do not act on them. You must know what is and is not working so that you can adjust your efforts and get the maximum return on your investment.

The time to connect is now.

The social media shift is well underway and Marketers can expect social media to become central to their overall communications effort.



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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, University of Waterloo.