Social Media in 2016

crystal-ball

I don’t put much belief into predictions. And predictions about technology and social media are more suspect than others. But seeing an article by Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, and I’ll give it a look.

First, looking back at 2015,  you have to admit that video was the big thing across networks. Live social streaming (Periscope, Meerkat) was the new thing. Snapchat matured to the count of more than 200 million active users. Facebook users clicked 8 billion video views a day making it a true competitor to YouTube. Facebook Live may take live streaming mainstream to their 1.5 billion users, and Twitter-owned Periscope already has 10 million active users, so live streaming is likely to grow in 2016.

In 2016, Holmes says that generally there will be new technologies changing how we interact with social media. Here are the brief versions of his predictions.

Virtual reality – look at Facebook’s purchase of Oculus and its start at using some of that tech in its 360 Video that let’s you at video right, left, up and down. Immersive experiences. Take a look at a 360 Video from Vice and The Disney Channel for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and drag the view around. Unfortunately, it probably won’t play in Safari on an iPhone or iPad . That’s an issue.

It will be fully immersive VR using devices like the Oculus Rift headset, but that may not have much impact on social media this year, although Oculus already released a Oculus Social Alpha app (but it is for use with the Samsung Gear VR headset not your browser).

I’m less excited as a user about “Social shopping” and all the social media buy buttons, and more sophisticated ways to mine your friends’ posts to drive your buying decisions.

It will be interesting if the prediction that social media moves into work comes true. Workplace social networks, like Slack and the soon-to-be Facebook at Work, is predicted to make using social media in the office less of  a thing to avoid and maybe a part of your job as businesses incorporate social tools for internal communications, customer service, sales, marketing and advertising.

Companies are not ready for that right now. Check out this Harvard Business Review survey.

Social media networks are expanding into “platforms” which was something Zuckerberg talked about for Facebook even in its earliest days. Look at Twitter which has expanded from being a 140-character note to messaging, video-sharing, customer service and more. Facebook isn’t for college students and others just sharing status and photos but video sharing/streaming platform, a place to shop, and maybe a workplace app. the same things have been happening at LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat.

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