The next ten years

What will the next ten years of social be like?

It’s always risky to try and predict the future, and in the rapidly evolving world of social it’s even more dangerous. However there are some major themes we can expect to see continue to play out. Looking at the potential evolution of technologies that have emerged in the last few years also provides some clues to the future. Here are some predictions for the next ten years of social to think about today.

Privacy has clearly become a huge concern for social media users following the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal, but the situation is likely to look very different by 2028. In future many of us will choose to give up our right to privacy for fear of becoming a digital hermit as social becomes all-pervasive.

The nature of influence will change. Influencers are already becoming brands in their own right, making the leap to become niche celebrities. However we will start to trust our peers and micro-influencers more, as the value of authenticity will start to compete with the value of reach.

New social networks may emerge that leverage new media consumption formats, in the same way smartphones gave rise to mobile-first platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, we may see the same with wearables and virtual worlds – even if Facebook is already trying to own social VR and AR with its purchase of Oculus Rift.

New social platform players will be shaped by tomorrow’s legislation. Government action may prevent existing players from simply buying up challengers or copying their offering, or perhaps advertisers will be forced to be more transparent because of a consumer backlash against social advertising, especially when it comes to politics.

We are likely to have our own AI powered bots working to manage our social interactions. Today’s digital ‘assistants’ will learn more about us, our friends and the businesses we interact with, helping us communicate, organise and transact in a across a range of platforms and devices.   

Real-time fact-checking will be essential if current trends in this post-truth era continue.  Transparency concerns could lead to the emergence of bots designed to  check the provenance of social content.

Echoing the slow, artisanal food movements in the real world, a premium is likely to be placed on ‘handmade’ digital social interactions as part of a backlash against synthetic social experiences created by future legions of AI bots.