Social media will likely follow this same cycle. First it is everything, then it is nothing and it was all a big waste of time, and then we’ll find out it really is necessary and relevant and important. So after all that, we’ll end up with the equivalent of websites everywhere, of needing a website, but of course I’m talking in terms of tweets or whatever they will be known by then. You will need your check-ins, your facebook fans, your contests, your mentions, your online referrals and reviews, or whatever all of that is known as by then.
So assuming all this is correct, that still leaves us with what to do with that information. I’m not advocating you go and try and invest in social media companies (not that it’s even possible given that they are all generally privately held), but rather that you think about how this changes the way people will interact with each other, and with companies. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll think about what it would take to build a product that will be needed then. For example, consider the intersection of social media, augmented reality (AR), and online booking applications. If we’re connected to each other through smart phones and geolocation, it would not surprise me to have ads or referrals pushed to me when walking past shops in the future (indeed, I’m told this already happens in many places such as Asia). But what if I could then take my phone and point it at a shop – an AR overlay appears and I see that there are a few open spaces for a haircut or maybe a massage in the next 30 minutes and, lo and behold, the reviews are there too – my friend has gone here and gave it 5 stars. Because the time slots are perishable, booking now means I’ll save some money, and that’s great, because not only do I like discounts, but I also like not sitting and waiting for things. Instead, I would love to be able to book that massage instantly and then go grab a coffee or do some quick shopping instead of sitting and waiting for it.
And you know what, I’m sure that product or experience will one day exist. So it’s up to us to go make it, because that’s a better world, and that’s where the tools are telling us we can go.
Here’s another vision of a possible future: