I was asked to contribute a piece to the recent edition of the Irish Marketing Journal about the Future of Social Media, here is what I had to say:
What’s the future of Social Media? Really who cares? Our heads will just spin if we keep worrying about the future of social media – because when we ask that question we are really asking – what’s the next Facebook or Twitter? Who Cares!
Do you really think people sit at home, on the bus, or the train, in work or watching TV – wherever – and worry about the future of social media – about the next big thing. No they don’t. They don’t care.
We live in our marketing bubble – we are hyper conscious of channels – we are hyper digitally aware – we get so bogged down in it all that we forget what it’s all about. It’s about people, it’s about experiences, it’s about making lives a little more interesting.
Stop thinking about the future of social media and start to think about how and what people are consuming, what they are interested in and how you can enhance that. If you get that right, then you can tweak it for the right social channel.
In his book, Contagious, Jonah Berger says that “Contagious products and ideas are like forest fires. They can’t happen without hundreds, if not thousands, of regular Joes and Janes passing the product or message along. So why did thousands of people transmit these products and ideas?”
So the future (really the now) of social is about shareabiltiy and sharing. It’s about great content, it’s visual, it’s not perfect, it’s relevant, it’s local, it’s mobile, it’s quality but doesn’t have to be perfect (allow it be gritty).
And as Jonah Berger suggests, it’s not just online, we need to think how we can get offline consumers talking and sharing, because there are just as many, if not more offline conversations.
Social media will continue to be relevant, increasingly so. However it needs to be part of the broader picture and not singled out. Regardless of where it is headed we need to continue the quest for seamless creative experiences that live beyond analog and beyond digital and do things that excite people so they are willing to share them .