We're in the middle of a major shift in how we use social media. The huge firestorm around Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and our privacy is a watershed moment that will shift how we engage with social media. But, many other factors are in play. Such as...

The early adopters, a/k/a Millennials, are entering full adulthood.

The oldest members of this generation are in their 30s. They're buying homes, getting married and having babies.  And, as their careers evolve, they're realizing just how much reputation matters. This group has made lots of mistakes with social media. Just ask anyone who has ever lost a job or had their life messed up in some other way due to TMI online. This generation is now hyper-focused on finding ways to use social media that doesn't make us look bad.

We've got enough data now to know how it doesn't serve us. 

Studies show the time we've been wasting on social media is making some of us feel terrible. Depression related to social media is a legit thing. As a society, we recognize its addictive properties and are starting to set boundaries for ourselves as a way to digitally detox. Our goal now is to make the time we spend on social media have a positive ROI.

We're an intelligent enough species to want something more.

Like the invention of radio, TV, and the telephone, early mistakes were made when using these new technologies. But, they didn't go away. Instead, we got more sophisticated and intentional in how we used them. Thus, as we evolved, the technology did too.

So, what's next?

With the above in mind, here three things you can expect to see in terms of how we use social media for our careers:

1. Private Facebook groups will explode.

Instead of killing your Facebook account because you don't want your feed filled with designer propaganda, many will choose to identify and become members of private Facebook groups where you can hang with like-minded people. In doing so, you'll have more control over what you see in your feed. And, when you post inside these private groups, only the other members can see it, enabling you to tailor what you share on Facebook to each audience.

2. Users will stop "looking & liking" and start "learning & growing".

A healthier use of time spent on social media will be around following and engaging with Influencers who idealize the values you believe in and display the traits you aspire to possess. We feel better when we align ourselves with high-profile subject-matter experts who make us feel good about ourselves and motivate us to step outside our comfort zones. Folks like Gary Vee are already dominating in this practice on social media. Soon, many others will follow his lead. Which leads to...

3. Social media influencers will create mega-service platforms.

As we start to identify and relate to Influencers in various areas of interest, we'll want more than just pictures, posts, and videos from them. They'll respond to our needs in the form of personalized online services where you can have more access to them beyond their social media accounts. I can share a personal experience with this. As a result of posting free career advice for 6+ years, I now have over 2.4M followers on LinkedIn. Last year, after getting overwhelmed with requests to review followers' resumes and LinkedIn profiles, my company created WorkItDaily.com, a low-cost career coaching subscription service where members get their job search tools reviewed one-on-one by me and a team of trained pros so they can be sure they've done them properly. I'm certain it won't be long before experts in your industry or skill set will offer similar mentoring platforms.

P.S. - If you want to capitalize on the social media evolution, build your brand now.

Personal branding on social media is the future. There's no better way to let the world know what you are the go-to person for than to share your expertise online. As we move away from posting pics of our kids, vacations, and what we had for dinner, we'll move toward sharing content that tells the world how we add value - and what we can do for them. The sooner you build your brand, the faster you will stand out for you contributions!

Published on: Apr 12, 2018