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Over the past decade, social media and social networking has integrated itself into every fabric of modern society. With breathtaking speed, social media has gone from a simple tool for amusement into an indispensable aspect of how we conduct our daily lives. If this sounds a bit too exaggerated, all you need to do is look at the behaviors that various businesses and companies are adopting in response to social media trends.
It’s unheard of for a modern company not to have some sort of Facebook page, or a Twitter account. These businesses aren’t just jumping onto the social media bandwagon for fun – they’re making an online social media presence for themselves because of the sheer ubiquity of social networking and media.
We’ve Seen Social Media’s Birth And Adolescence, What’s Next?
As the current Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Pinterest generation reaches saturation, one cannot help but wonder at what’s going to be the next big thing. The last revolution in social media can be said to be the Facebook explosion. However, it just might be the right time for something else to begin trending. While there are countless theories and claims each pointing to a different trend, it should be undeniable that commercial integration of social media will continue exponentially increasing, as it recently has.
Businesses Reach Towards “Social Singularity”
While some may claim otherwise, the number one goal for companies is to expand their customer base and make more money. With the advent of social networking, an extremely easy yet thoroughly comprehensive system of consumer outreach has been placed into their hands. With internet advertising technology also rapidly advancing alongside social media sites, businesses now have a great way of pinpointing their advertising energy towards their target audiences. To see this in action, simply click over to some of your favorite websites, blogs, and news providers.
How many ads do you see? You shouldn’t be too surprised to discover that a significant percentage of the webpage’s area is taken up by advertising spaces. In addition, have you noticed that these ads sometimes change to reflect what you’ve been looking up on Google or other search engines? As technology rapidly evolves, the internet simply becomes smarter and smarter, and thus gets better at predicting what customers want to see and want to buy.
The Commercial Future
There is a rule called Moore’s Law that states that technology doubles in effectiveness every two years or so. Those of us who are well-versed in computer hardware know that this is more or less true. As better and better hardware technology becomes available, software and internet technology will likewise follow. Thus, those very same technologies that allow businesses to track their customers (and also potential customers) online and see their pre-existing shopping habits will only get better as well.
I predict that these tracking programs and algorithms will be further integrated into mobile technology in order to provide an experience that evokes images from the movie Minority Report. Due to the increasingly high mobile phone usage in the global population, social media and networking will most likely move onto those mobile platforms as their primary base. From there, businesses and companies will be able to access their potential and current customer base wherever they may be going. As mobile technologies progress even further, they may allow for a sort of real-time social experience.
For example, you could pull out your phone and see what others around you are up to without the other users actively inputting their status updates or whatnot. Another possibility is that information bases specializing in customer feedback such as Yelp, Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes will be condensed and streamlined into a data stream that actively updates its users in accordance to their physical location.
Thus, as you pass by a restaurant, your mobile device already knows where you are and has already pulled up a conglomeration of reviews and other information for you to examine. All of these points are merely conjectures, but with the way technology is progressing, their realization may not be too farfetched.
With Great Power…
However, all of these seemingly exciting new capabilities might come with some downsides. We all know about the controversies occurring now based around how social media disrupts some aspects of our daily lives. As social media and networking becomes more and more saturated, so too will their side-effects upon our society.
I can’t imagine anyone who actually wants to be subjected to more advertisements than they are already. In the end, any new technology will always have its own share of growing pains. As society has in the past, we can only wait and see what kinds of new innovations as well as challenges await us in the future.
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