The social media world is constantly evolving. It wasn’t that long ago that dial-up led to DSL which led to the iCloud.
Looking back just 20 years, “mobile” phones were generally bolted into cars. We had no concept of the “world wide web” outside of AOL or Prodigy. And a Facebook was something you got your freshman year of college.
But the velocity has greatly increased. I’m not sure what caused the “big bang” of social connectivity, but ever since that moment, the evolution has been at warp-speed.
In 2009, I wrote about a five-year plan for social media. And, reading over it now, it feels like 50 years ago.
So looking ahead, where will social media be in five years?
Some bold predictions:
1. Facebook Will Fail.
Anyone who thinks Facebook is too big to fail is kidding themselves. Facebook became popular because college students could connect on there – and then it opened up to older and younger audiences. But the fact is, the 18-22 years olds in 2003-2005 are the ones that sparked it.
And like most other institutions, the young will rebel against it.
Also consider a recent study showed that 34% of Facebook users are reducing their time on the platform. Toss in a botched IPO and a new promoted post feature that sounds…fishy…and the ingredients for decline are there.
I don’t think it will go out of business, but it’s influence will take a major hit.
2. Ubiquitous Hashtags
What started as a Twitter tool for organizing content will change the way we think about information.
Brands have already started using Hashtags offline. Seeing them on TV gets the job done, as far as driving traffic and conversation.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Hashtag will become ingrained in our brains as an identifier, helping link together disparate, seemingly unrelated items.
And because nobody “owns” them, Hashtags will be everywhere.
3. Location-Based Marketing Will Keep Trying
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
Just like The Little Engine That Could, the location-marketing industry will keep trying to get up the hill.
Foursquare. Highlight. Facebook Places. BrightKite. The list goes on.
Services will keep on trying to get us to tell them where we are. There will be coupons and discounts and whathaveyou incentivizing it.
But it just hasn’t clicked on a mass level. I’m sure these businesses will make a lot of people a lot of money over the next five years, but location has definitely plateaued, as far as user-generated posts.
An opt-in, brands-reach-out-to-you service could catch on. And there are companies out there playing in that space already.
4. Tumblr Booms
There are nearly 60 million blogs on Tumblr.
And one, We are the 99%, helped spark the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Half of the user base is under 25.
Growing influence in the real world? Check.
Young demographic? Check.
Visual interface? Check.
Easy social sharing? Check.
It’s popular already, but it’s going to get bigger.
5. What’s Pinterest?
Pinterest will be forgotten in five years.
Think about all the fad networks that popped and fizzled over the past decade.
It’s hard…since you’ve forgotten them already.
The idea of pin boards will stick around, but Pinterest will be gone, or bought out by a larger network in a talent acquisition. Kind of like how Friendster and MySpace shaped the Facebook experience…and how Facebook acquired Gowalla’s team to build their Places feature.
The one way it can stay alive is by jumping headfirst into their female demographic, from site design and marketing to user experience.
Either way, Pinterest will not exist as we know it today.
What about you? What bold predictions do you have for social media in the next five years?