Social Media 2020

four people using smartphones behind glass wall

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Social media in general had a tough year in 2018. Criticisms of fake news, private data being sold and made public by hackers and other issues gave it a bad reputation in the general public. Even the media that uses, perhaps even relies on, social media was critical. But social media is not going away.

Hootsuite made some predictions for 2020 social media (jumping right over this year)  that are pretty safe bets to make. For example, based on their annual global study of internet, social, and mobile adoption across 239 countries, social media usage will continue to grow.  I agree.

In 2017, one million new people joined social networks every day. Nearly a quarter of a billion new users came online for the first time in 2017. Where is the fastest growth? No surprise that it is places like Africa. Five years ago it would have been the emerging Chinese market, but that country has been pretty much conquered. Though Google, Facebook and others would still like a bigger piece of the share.)

Product discovery becomes more visual and social, according to GlobalWebIndex, because about half of internet users follow brands they like or brands they are thinking of buying something from on social media.

Again, the fast-growth markets are in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. In  the Philippines, Kenya and Morocco, social media beats the big search engines as a way to research purchasing and so it is a good bet that by 2020 search’s grip on product research will be even less. I have to believe that search engine companies are looking hard at that trend. And we know that Google never got social right. We saw the end of Google+ in 2018.

Have you done searches in the past year using voice via Siri, Alexa et al? Visual and voice search are also growing and Baidu expects half of searches by 2020 are going to be through images or speech by 2020. Baidu has the second largest search engine in the world but (like the leader’s company) this Chinese multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products and artificial intelligence, is also involved in lots of other tech, such as autonomous vehicles.

Pinterest – which I find myself using less and less – has Lens which uses machine learning for brand and product discovery and could really help broaden their reach.

On the commercial user side of things, I don’t think we have really seen much innovation in areas like customer service and support using messaging apps and chatbots. That may be a 2020 trend.

Some would say that social video is at a saturation point. I agree. So if it is to grow there needs to be some evolution. We know that watching videos on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram is commonplace. How much of your time doing that is for social or pleasure and how much is coming from commercial and promotion?  I suspect the latter uses will increase. I read that for some late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live video replay on YouTube or their own sites now accounts for 20% or more of their advertising income. It’s no wonder that Jimmy Fallon urges you after every clip to subscribe to their channel.

With all this growth, there are still trends that point to possible declines. The video saturation may not cause evolution but instead just mean that people are tired of all this video hitting them and stop watching.

Privacy is a huge concern and people are sharing less personal information on major networks. I disconnected many social services from others. I don’t share my contacts as readily. I don’t use Google or facebook or Twitter to sign into other services if I can help it. Companies know this. facebook has disallowed me from automatically sharing posts from other networks on my profile.

I keep hearing that Gen Y and Z will drive increased adoption of technology like VR and AR. But that is not what I see in my students that fall into these generational groups. Like myself, they just don’t see compelling reasons to own and use expensive glasses/goggles or add apps yet.

I think it is a given that AI and mobile will continue to grow and slip into our daily lives in many almost unseen ways.


You can read Hootsuite’s report on Digital in 2018 and make your own plans to join (or rebel against) the rise of social in the year ahead.

When Following Someone Gets Creepy

creepy face pixa

LinkedIn tells you when someone has viewed your profile – or when you view someone’s profile.  The latter might seem useful. The former might make you feel a bit creepy.

I wrote earlier about how people are informed when you do a screenshot of someone’s Instagram photo.

And now, Facebook’s new “Stories” update also does notifications. When you watch a friend’s Story that friend will know you’re watching.  A “Story” exists for 24 hours and is comprised of one or more photos or short videos and Stories works this way on platforms that supports them like Snapchat and Instagram).

Facebook really wants you to be interactive with the database of photos, text and video you and your friends have uploaded. It has been copying some of Snapchat’s features. Snapchat is popular (but much smaller than Facebook) for its more private messaging.

Facebook’s algorithms aren’t smart enough to keep Stories (which are designed to be an unfiltered you  in the moment) away from everyone who is your “friend.”

I think most users of all these social services enjoy the relative anonymity that allows them to look through at least partial profiles without  “friending,” liking” or doing anything that reveals your identity or “creeping.”

I often see in my LinkedIn feed that someone looked at my profile (maybe a recruiter or friend of a friend). It piques my curiosity. Who is this?  I’d like to see their profile, but I don’t because my look will be communicated to that person.

Is it creepy to look at profiles of people you don’t know? Should people be notified when their content is view by someone they don’t follow or haven’t accepted as a friend?

Thoughts?

I See You Did a Screenshot of My Instagram Photo

Instagram has made a few updates. In a nod to (or copy of) Snapchat, you can send a self-destructing messages to a “friend.” Another change that probably addresses your intellectual property (if that is what you consider your photos) – but it might also be a little creepy.

If you take a screenshot of a screen, that person gets a notification. “ronkowitz took a screenshot.”

insta

That’s probably not an issue if it really is a friend’s account that you did that screenshot on, but if it’s your ex- or someone you have been quietly stalking, maybe not.

The two new features could actually overlap: what if  you send one of those Snapchatty disappearing messages and the receiver takes a screenshot? You’ll get a message that they did. Good to know that your message didn’t really disappear.