Often we come across the question in moderated chats, on panels, and in our networks about the future of digital & community. Sure, social media is still something new and exciting. I believe that the term “social media” will be absorbed into something bigger. It will become such a routine part of everyday life there will no more need for said terms. Whether its through interaction with each other, sharing stories, updates, recommendations, interacting with favorite brands, though advertising, it’s about being personable. That’s the biggest things brands are really trying to do, they want to be able to relate with every individual on a one to one basis.
In the past advertising agencies would create ads for the mass, sure they would have their target market, but still, it was a huge market they were reaching out to. Creativity could only go so far. Facebook comes along, and using personal profiles and a person’s individual interests, brings in personal ads they can pinpoint and target almost anything. Still, the ads are becoming routine, it’s a small picture and a block of text, nothing very exciting. As the web becomes more social, search engines are pulling from social profiles and really getting to “know” users. Interactive web banners will adapt to the individual browsing the web. As algorithms are evolving, they’re beginning to pick up the smallest patterns and learn behavior and will be able to to make not only recommendations for, but maybe even start making decisions for you. You won’t see recommended friends on FB or whatever network is in existence, they’ll be added automatically.
With Google+ rolling out, their network could really revolutionize the whole web experience. If and when people start updating profiles to Google, it’s then that everything will become even more one on one in one huge connected experience. People really are different, and if you want to make true, real connections, you need to be able to understand where they are coming from. In shopping malls per se we’ll begin to see interactive billboards. They will all be camera operated, scanning people passing by, and based on sex, age, maybe even clothing style, they’ll post what they believe is an ad that will suit you personally. Maybe they’ll send that information to a database that will send something back to the smart device in your pocket offering you a personalized deal at a store in the mall.
Brands need to be on top of technology 24/7 if they really want to be connecting with fans as personably as possible. As for the communities and fans that fuel brands, the same methods need to be adapted. I’d like to see networks that translate automatically between users. For example, my FB is set to English, and yours to Mandarin Chinese. We become friends, I can see your page in English, and you see mine in Mandarin, we then are able to communicate flawlessly through an application that does all the translation for us. It’s innovation like that, that could really help tear down language barrier between people. I can see that happening somewhere in the future.
Then we have augmented reality, thats a whole other story and innovation. Imagine online shopping from home when the camera on your computer scans you, then virtually places the clothes on a 3-D model of yourself you can spin around and check out. There’s already been a Kinect hack that does. There’s plenty of other uses in the real world where your phone or tablet places virtual objects on screen in the real environment around you.
Only time can really tell what comes next, but never be afraid to adopt new technologies. It’s those who hesitate that will either be left behind, or caught behind the competition. That’s not really what anyone wants. You may not always be excited to jump on the bandwagon, but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get with the times.