What will social media platforms look like for Gen Z in the future?
We all want to know what the future holds. Most importantly we want to know what the future will look like and how it will shape the way we live our lives for years to come.
We don’t know what the exact future will look like but, we can definitely make educated guesses and plan for what’s in store.
Facebook’s Destiny Mark Zuckerburg
We’ve already heard of Mark Zuckerburg’s changes to Facebook’s privacy comparing it to WhatsApp, but what does it look like? And when will it happen? “Private communication” will be a term on the rise for the years to come when Facebook does start to make its changes. Being able to send private messages back and forth without the feeling of being watched is how Zuckerburg sees the future. He stated, “In a few years, I expect future versions of Messenger and WhatsApp to become the main ways people communicate on the Facebook network.” Greater freedom of expression you may think? More entitlement to privacy?
Who doesn't want their privacy restored after the incident with Snowden? After he exposed the government, he stated in depth how Americans are being watched all the time through their movements over the phone and online.
We can say that Zuckerburg wants people to feel safe when using the internet again by not being able to express hate speech and threats connected to cyberbullying. He hopes for people to have their own privacy through private messages with friends and loved ones. However, this could impose a harm to behavior patterns not being detected with the encryption. With too much privacy there might be worse mass shootings and perhaps terrorists attacks being plotted out through Facebook’s new platform.
Although this may be a possibility, we are not sure if this type of epidemic will continue to progress for the years to come.
We’ve all seen them. Scrolling through your feed on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, and there they are lingering for an opportunity to be noticed and perhaps to be tempted for a click to their site. Advertisements have been gearing onto social media platforms more and more because they know that in recent years of advanced technology, people are always on them. And why would they stop there?
Recently, I have encountered my own share of advertisements through social media. I could be scrolling on my YouTube feed trying to watch a video for content or just even learn something new, and there they are. I’ve seen 15 second skippable ads, non-skippable ads, and even polls/surveys as well to engage audiences to answer research questions for advertisers. The more inescapable advertisements are those who manage to use famous YouTubers to convey their followers to buy their products. I’ve watched podcasts on YouTube and there will always be a sponsor guaranteed because advertisers know that influencers have a great following. Fans who are committed to particular influencer(s) will buy almost any product that they endorse or even “use” for that sake.
With countless influencers now and even more emerging, it means that advertisers will use that opportunity to target millions! For instance, on Instagram, we know that there are multiple celebrities who post and interact with their fans through various platforms. The Kardashians for example have sponsored many products throughout the years using social media platforms. All it takes is a quick selfie with the product and a brief description in their caption and people will go and immediately click on the link to buy whatever it is that “keeps” them looking so great. It won’t take long until we see more skillful ad placements being in less obvious ways such as apps like TikTok.
At the moment, TikTok has surpassed the popularity of Snapchat and Twitter by simply being an app that focuses on video content. Mainly people who are famous in TikTok are people that curate good content or are simply too attractive to not me seen by thousands of users. Who knows, maybe the next time we see a viral TikTok surfacing the web, we may see a lowkey display of brands like Vans or Supreme.
Robots and Social Media
In past decades, we’ve been introduced to the concept of artificial intelligence. Robots! We keep hearing about robots and all the crazy conspiracies that can come along with it. Will robots take over the world? Can people and robots live in the same society? Can robots actually become part of our lives? Without a doubt, they are near, and they are here. We interact with artificial intelligence all the time now. There are self driving cars, talking Alexa, and Sophia the Robot that was activated in 2016. Creepy? We’ll see.
For instance, Sophia the robot was made in Hong Kong mimicking actual human-like expressions. She has voice and face recognition and is said to get smarter through time.
In 2019, the Super Bowl aired ads containing multiple robots in various ads. It seemed like a trend, indirectly stating that this will be the future. It became obvious that this was a trend for 2019 and also for 2020’s Super Bowl as well. Some people used their social media accounts to express what they witnessed also. Robots will no longer be an episode out of the Twilight Zone or Black Mirror. And how does this relate to social media?
Take Lil Miquela as an example. Lil Miquela is an influencer on Social Media that was created through robotics and artificial intelligence. She currently has 1.9 million followers and counting on Instagram. According to MarketWatch, Miquela stated in an email, “I think people are initially attracted to my page because of my look.” She goes and and continues to explain how she has a relationship with her followers. She has been personified to interact with people as though she is an actual being with feelings and emotions.
The cons with having robots be part of our lives are that Robots aren’t real beings, they can begin replacing the jobs of most people. Especially when it comes to modern day influencers. “So long humans! We have a robot who can do a better job!” Tying into brands and advertisement placing, companies can use robots such as Lil Miquela if it continues to catch the eye and the interest of the public. The main concept of using influencers is to promote products to specific audiences in hopes for a call to action. To buy a product. Advertisers and existing companies won’t have to use real humans to do the work for them. It can all just be done with the help of artificial intelligence.
As we know it, we can only make assumptions of what the future of social media has in store for us. For all we know, the internet can cease to exist within a few decades. Don't think so? We could hardly imagine a world where people can have full conversations with one another through a computer screen just a few decades ago. Today, you can’t help but notice people having their face glued to a screen every time you pass by them. Now, we have gadgets and technologies that do everything for us. We don't even have to pick up a book or go to a local library to look up information anymore. The culture has shifted within just a few decades. So will these technological advancements keep happening in the future? Perhaps. We may or may not use Social Media platforms exactly how we use them today. These are all assumptions of what social media can lead to for the years to come but nothing is certain about the future. And that's the beauty of it all! We just might have to wait and find out through our useless and expensive virtual reality lenses.