Envision the future of social media: The future of social media at the turn of the decade

​At the close of 2019, the number of social media users worldwide was 3.5 billion. The rapid development of social media has had a significant impact on our daily lives - changing how we connect not only to each other but also to media and brands. Therefore, at the turn of the decade can we predict future changes to be seen on the horizon?

Envision the future of social media: The future of social media at the turn of the decade
Envision the future of social media: The future of social media at the turn of the decade

Applicable regulation

​Although social media has clearly benefited society and companies, it also brings threats and threats such as cyber-attacks, online harassment, depression, body image insecurity, and fear of missing out (FOMO). Previously left to self-regulation, the UK government recently announced that Watchdog Com would be given more power to force social media companies to take increased responsibility for their content.​

Regulating pressure in the digital arena will almost certainly restrict how advertisers can be targeted and what content can be promoted, thus bringing more transparency on how data is used. For example, Facebook already allows users to manage interest-based ads under account settings and we should expect more companies to follow the trend.

Applicable rules can encourage users to increase trust in social media networks. This would presumably reflect higher engagement. On the other hand, advertisers will have enhanced targeting capabilities, which can translate into wastage for media, lower advertising costs, and fewer opportunities for ad optimization.

If they are limited in data collection, social platforms may see a reduced ability to serve curated content to users.

Data and Privacy​

Events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal made us realize the power of social media and data as well as the limitations of current social media regulations. Users are becoming aware that data is power. An indication of this is that the activity of 'Activity My Activity' on Google is increasing year after year.

Users are already changing their privacy settings and accounts are being deleted to include minimal information on social media. Users will continue to increase how much the world becomes digital, privacy concerns will increase. Demographically, younger viewers are increasingly conscious of data privacy and security, which would further add softer and tougher restrictions on social media.

This trend may well open up alternative commercial models for social media networks, such as subscriptions that allow less need for personal data. Another possible solution would be to reward users who share their data.

Social networks like WeChat

​As more people rely on their phones to pay, store boarding passes and manage their finances, there is an increasing opportunity for social media players to merge social and financial functionalities into one platform.

WeChat is the perfect example of how social media, commerce, and entertainment can merge. More than a social media network, it allows users to perform day-to-day tasks such as storing their IDs, paying their utilities, and accessing public services, including booking doctor appointments, visas To apply for, and check driving records.​​

Facebook is already experimenting in this space and it had plans to launch its own cryptocurrency named Tula this year. The service may not be integrated with the Facebook social media platform, but it does give an indication of future possibilities.

​Western social forums will inevitably try to follow WeChat but it is unlikely that they will be allowed to play the role as fully as WeChat does in China. This is because, in most countries, data privacy concerns and increased regulation will push social networks in the opposite direction.

Multi networking

​The number of social media accounts per capita is increasing among all demographics. The multi-networking effect is a response to the increase in the number of platform options but is also occurring due to a degree of specialization (such as Twitch, Pinterest, and TikTok).

Social media usage will continue to increase in developing countries but is generally anticipated among advanced economies. As more specialized social media platforms are generated, the number of social media platforms per user can still increase in all age groups, especially among millennials and Gen X. However, spending time on social media will be the same as it is currently.

How do we change the consumption of content?

​The way we consume content always changes and therefore new social media networks will emerge as a natural response to these changes. Smaller demographics will be the first adopters, as we saw with Snapchat and are watching with Tiktok.​

Video has become the most popular format ever. Views of branded video content have increased by 258% since 2016, and a video can be retweeted 6 times more than a video on Twitter. It is not hard to predict that the new social media platforms will be focused on video and powered by AI.

Additionally, voice search is increasing rapidly which will also affect social media behavior in the coming decade as people type less and begin to rely on voice recognition systems to do this work for them.

While phones will continue to be the main devices for accessing social media, the use of AR and VR devices will also increase over the next decade as they become lighter and versatile, expanding their use beyond gaming.

Shifts from the current climate

​Social media was in the news for its negative effects for close to a decade. Due to COVID-19, screen time will increase as individuals will re-download / re-download apps to stay connected with friends and family, and to re-entertain. Some platforms will come out of this dark time with a larger, more diverse, and more engaged user base than ever before, and perhaps social media as their core attraction to gain respect through governing in a way to keep everyone connected. Will do.​

Predicting the future of social media can be challenging as it is changing rapidly but hopefully it will move towards a safer and more democratic place.​

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