What a revolution the Internet brought to publishing.
Smartphones gave us the ability to develop content from wherever we happened to be at any given point and upload it to the web, where social sharing meant our words, images and video could be seen by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people.
Now, an executive at Facebook is predicting that in just five years time, Facebook will be "definitely mobile," and "probably all video."
Can you imagine a digital world devoid of written text?
It might seem crazy, but it's not all that far fetched to think that video will soon take over. For starters, it's so much quicker and easier to create video than to sit down, collect your thoughts, write them all out and edit it into something fit for public consumption.
People are also far more forgiving of off the cuff, real-time video than they are a piece of writing that's obviously just been dashed out in a hurry. It's okay if the video you're shooting is a little shaky or goes in and out of focus -- in fact, that can add to the experience and make it more exciting! People feel like they're really there with you.
But a sloppy piece of writing?
Well. Ain't nobody got time for that.
So it's true... Facebook is very likely headed for a textless world in the next five years, where video reigns supreme. But the evolution has already begun! In fact, the way you use Facebook is going to be a whole lot different just one year from now. Here's are 3 surprising ways you'll use Facebook differently next year:
1. You'll Watch Less, and Experience More
360° video has been pegged the "next big thing" for years now, but 2016 is where it's really taking off. Facebook added 360 video to the Newsfeed this May and according to Nicola Mendelsohn, the Facebook executive quoted above, the network expects virtual reality to grow.
They're definitely not alone in that prediction. Tech M&A advisory firm Digi-Capital believes the VR market will explode and surpass $30 billion by 2020. The Motley Fool cites Piper Jaffray as estimating that throughout 2016, Samsung will sell 5 million Gear VRs, Facebook will sell 3.6 million Rifts, HTC will sell 2.1 million Vives, and Sony will sell 1.4 million PlayStation VRs.
2. You'll Become More Thoughtful About Your Video Content
Well, you'll have to. The competition for limited attention spans is only going to get tougher as video usage increases and written text declines. As Mendelsohn told the crowd in her discussion about video, we'll still be writing, but perhaps the utility of our writing will need to change. "You'll have to write for the video," she said.
Already, humans have a shorter attention span than the average goldfish. Content creators are going to be increasingly challenged to produce short form video content that still gets the message across.
3. You'll Work Harder at Storytelling
Some industries are just way more difficult to create social content for than others. Do you really want to share Facebook posts about unsexy products like toilet paper?
And yet TP brand Charmin gets a ton of social love, thanks to their storytelling strategy centered around the Charmin Bears. In a recent study of visual Facebook content, the folks over at Convince & Convert found that Charmin achieved the greatest boost in shareability (+585%) among studied brands when using its characters the Charmin Bears. Mr. Clean was another socially successful brand character.
Now, I'm not saying you need to rush out and create a mascot, but you definitely need to start thinking about the stories you're telling and how you can do so more effectively. Smart brands are giving audiences videos they actually look forward to seeing. There's a story there and they can't wait to see what happens next!
The way we use Facebook is rapidly changing and will continue to evolve at an incredible clip over the next few years. Are you ready for it?