Social media was originally meant to cater for the peculiar communication needs of young people. However, social media soon became a global revolution that has since changed the way individuals, businesses, and governments go about their activities. In addition, social media has created a parallel society that has a new set of norms. The revolution surrounding social media has also had unexpected changes and impacts on the society. However, the changes that have characterized the use of social media are set to continue in future. The past changes in social media have changed modes of conducting business and altered the path of globalization.
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People are increasingly depending on the virtual crowds on social media for political and commercial purposes. The future of social media will not have distinct differences from its current form. The confusion that characterizes the current social media players where thousands of developers are seeking to establish themselves as the dominant stakeholders in the market is likely to decline in future.
Social media will continue to have a great impact on peoples’ lives especially their interactions and entertainment habits. This paper attempts to explore the future of social media in respect to the lives of individuals. The paper will focus on some of the leading social media providers including Twitter, Instagram, and Tango.
The future of social media will incorporate the current and new modes of doing things. First, the information that is accessed by social media users is likely to become more specific. Most social media companies are currently gathering information about their users. Companies such as Facebook and Google are currently gathering information about their users’ preferences and purchasing habits. Therefore, in future the companies will customize the data that they submit to their customers using the data that they have been collecting.
Most social media platforms are constantly gathering information about “our likes and dislikes, our interests and disdains…soon…we will no longer need to search for information on the Web as information will find us based on all this data” (Kietzmann 248). Contrary to the popular belief that people will be bombarded with mountains of data, the information that will be served to social media users will coincide with their specific needs. Therefore, in future people will not spend considerable amounts of time while searching for information via social media.
The future of social media will be characterized by the fact that “the right information will be served to the right people at the right time” (Benkler 56). Most of the people who shun social media platforms do so because they find social media to be a confusing avenue where too much ‘useless’ information is supplied to them.
To attract more users, social media platforms are engineering methods of cutting down the transmission of unnecessary data to their users. This intention will be a major determinant of how social media will look like in future. The future social media look is lean and simple to avoid burdening individuals with unnecessary information.
Currently, the social media platform is littered with over 123,000 apps. The future of social media will not have this big number of platforms. In future, social media avenues will be ‘branched’. Therefore, the major social media platforms will act as ‘dashboards’ for the smaller apps. For instance, small start-up companies will rely on companies such as Twitter. The current dominant social media platforms will act as “social channels on which other companies will grow and develop their own technologies and businesses in future” (Asur and Huberman 51). For example, a company such as Tango is not gaining market share quickly.
In future, Tango might partner with other dominant companies such as Facebook and Skype and be providing these platforms with a voice-chat option to the more than 700 million Facebook users. Therefore, in future, most companies will have merged or they will be operating in clusters. Furthermore, the dominance that is being pursued by the leading companies will be achieved easily. For instance, in future Instagram might provide its users with a wide array of apps that have the potential to enhance the experiences of its users.
Future social media platforms will be complete in nature and they will cater to every possible need that users might have (Culnan, McHugh and Zubillaga 256). A user might want to combine the instantaneous experience of Instagram with the interactive nature of Facebook. Future social media platforms will focus on a wider range of consumer needs. Furthermore, upcoming app developers will develop platforms that complement the current leading providers and not ones that compete against the market leaders.
For example, companies such as Tweetdeck and Stocktwits have always operated under the Twitter platform although they started out as independent companies. This trend will dominate the future of social media. In future, several independent social media platforms will congregate under one umbrella. It is also probable that more than half of the existing social media platforms will have died out in the next ten to twenty years.
Most companies factor in a market-entry period and this means they do not expect to make any profits in their initial stages. Currently, part of the over 123,000 apps are in their market-entry phase. However, if this phase is completed without a company realizing any profits, the company might be forced to shut down its operations.
Advertising has become a major part of social media platforms. In future, the advertising techniques will change and become more user-driven as opposed to them being provider-driven. People will be able to turn off advertisements in their social media apps, albeit at a fee. Alternatively, consumers will have the option of switching social media adverts on or off whenever they wish to. The trend of for-pay applications is also likely to take root in future. The current success of the Whatsapp messaging tool is enough evidence that social media platforms that make revenues through advertising will not dominate the future.
The issue of privacy will also change in future. In future, social media platforms are likely to embrace advanced privacy technologies so as to entice security-conscious individuals. In twenty years, most companies will have mastered the art of ensuring maximum privacy for their users. The current tendency by social media companies to embrace transparency as opposed to privacy is driven by existing inadequacies. However, these inadequacies will be overcome in future and we shall all embrace privacy.
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I am not afraid of the changes that will happen to social media in future mostly because all of them are market-driven. Furthermore, the future of social media means that I will spend less time perusing through heaps of information. Furthermore, I will also be less worried about my privacy being compromised by capitalistic social media companies and aggressive advertisers. I am optimistic about the future of social media and the direction that is being taken by the companies that provide these services.
Asur, Sitaram, and Bernardo A. Huberman. “Predicting the future with social media.” Web Intelligence and Intelligent Agent Technology 9.1 (2010): 43-59. Print.
Benkler, Yochai. The wealth of networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom, Yale: Yale University Press, 2006. Print.
Culnan, Mary J., Patrick J. McHugh and Jesus I. Zubillaga. “How large US companies can use Twitter and other social media to gain business value.” MIS Quarterly Executive 9.4 (2010): 243-259. Print.
Kietzmann, Jan. “Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media.” Business horizons 54.3 (2011): 241-251. Print.