There was a time MySpace fill-in-the-blank quizzes were exactly what people wanted. There was a time LiveJournal was the pre-cursor to social media, followed by DeadJournal, and both ultimately ended up being the foundation for blogs--which can double as social media depending on how well comments are fostered. Facebook, of course, is constantly reinventing itself. Social media isn't going anywhere, but it is slated for more innovations, evolutions and changes. What do people want in social media today, and what will they want tomorrow?
Trends don't pop up out of nowhere. In fact, there's probably social media tech that already exists which will be the "next big thing." Take a look at the up and coming social media options, and it's clear to see where we're headed. Whether Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others can keep up or not is up in the air, but one thing's certain: The times, they are a' changin'.
Here's our predictions for the next must-have in social media. Get on the bandwagon now--while there's still room.
1. General "App"roval
Technically, most social media platforms that were originally website-only based have jumped onto the app trend. It's part of mobile readiness, and the most popular platforms know they have to have an app in order to keep providing the kinds of experiences their users want. However, app-based social media options are picking up steam. Even apps like WhatsApp are bridging the gap between social media and just plain social.
It's tough to believe, but there are countries where the top five social media platforms don't include the likes of Facebook. There are hundreds of social media options out there, if not thousands, and slowly but surely the general industry is moving towards a more global appeal. This means certified translations for numerous languages, layouts that appeal to the worldwide majority, and getting around censorship-rich countries like China by abiding by their preferred standards.
3. Serious mobile readiness
"Mobile readiness" usually means having a mobile version of a website, an app, or both. It's a niche of responsive design. Google has announced that this year, there are more Americans using mobile devices than desktops or laptops. Let that sink in a moment (and Americans certainly aren't alone). Google researchers have also shown that mobile users want faster page loads than desktop/laptop users, but it's more challenging to get speed on mobile devices. Mobile readiness is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity (especially since Google is slapping websites that don't have mobile readiness with manual penalties).
4. Less spam, more connection
How many times have you accepted a LinkedIn request just to get bombarded with spam messages? There's only so much your privacy settings can do for you. More and more social networking technologies are providing a place to make initial contact, then encouraging users to actually get off their mobile devices and interact.
5. New "best practices"
A trend has barely made it into Urban Dictionary before it's deemed "out" by the masses. Selfies, duck faces, humble brags, hash tags and the like may not exist in a few years. Of course, they'll just be replaced by different annoying trends, but at least it's a change.
The good news is that social media tends to be getting more social. Mobile readiness is helping because people are generally out and about on these devices. They're engaging in hyper local social media engagement, so the odds of meeting up with a friend at a caf when you notice you're within half a mile of each other (or just Tinder-ing) is becoming more and more common. Plus, we're learning from our social media faux pas. That doesn't mean everyone's ditching their bad habits, like stalking exes, but at least we know it's probably not a good idea and eventually might ditch that habit for good.