The immersive future of socialising
We upload, download, share, tweet, chat, swipe and meme every day.
It’s the constant rhythm of social media and millions of people do it for the benefit of their social, business and private lives. It happens spontaneously and with one click… holiday pics can be uploaded, a new job can be found, or created, or we can organise a quick catch up with an old school-friend.
Over 15M Australians spontaneously use Facebook and YouTube alone. Millions of users also indulge in Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Snapchat and more.
The social media juggernaut is rocketing ahead, but what’s going to happen next and how is that experience going to be even more immersive?
Shaping the virtually real future
The arrival of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets a couple of years ago drew a lot of attention but it’s a few years away from standard customer adoption. However, Augmented Reality AR is an amazing concept which we can access now and it’s mostly free. It superimposes a computer-generated image within the real world—think Pokemon Go. It will lend itself in a unique way to social networking with people able to connect and share, all within a digital bubble. It already exists within apps such as Yelp and Google Ingress and most smartphones have the capacity to deal with it.
Not just for games
Augmented reality—the iPhone 8 and iPhone X are prepped with the A11 bionic chip which enables them to provide amazing augmented reality experiences. At the moment there are many Apps we can enjoy in the way of games, but there’s more to it than that. Imagine visualising your dream car in the driveway, looking at furniture in your room (before you buy it) and looking into the human anatomy. Imagine drawing sketches on the side of a building without using paint, or looking at the tattoo on your leg before spending any money. It’s all available now, and that’s the tip of the AR App suite. What this means is the presence of AR has the potential to create a whole new target market within advertising and posts on social media. Watch the AR space, this is going to be incredible.
Gen Z marketing via AI
Social Media Marketing will focus on Generation Z—born between 1995 to 2012, this is the first generation to have never spent a single day without the internet, cell phone or computer. Ambitious, they hold a great deal of potential with $44 billion in buying power. Savvy brands will take advantage by adjusting their social media to attract them via their loved social platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. How will they target Gen Z? Through the use of Artificial Intelligence, using AI in Social Media will give businesses a better understanding around a prospects thought pattern. For example, a Facebook user checks into a hotel, restaurant or high street store and uploads a photo of this location. Facebook then uses their AI algorithm to offer the user a real-time a discount, or special offer for doing this.
Valuing unfiltered moments
YouTube is built on a foundation of videos that capture real, unfiltered moments. Therefore, live video can only expand – this is primarily because we value truth. Social videos have more engagement than any other content format. There will be an increase in live video as brands appreciate the power of live streaming.
Instagram Stories – allows you to personalise your photos with text and drawing tools, they play like a slideshow and at the end of the day, those photos disappear. These are on the rise in a huge way, already having 50 million more users than Snapchat.
Even with supersizing its tweets, and the added entertainment of infamous/famous people sharing every thought in their heads, Twitter will need to change – it’s in a ‘Trump’ slump down a few million users from last year. With a former developer regretting not building in a tool to fight trolls, and a problematic platform allowing a constant stream of toxic diatribe, Twitter has seen better years. It will most likely receive an overhaul with emphasis on business potential, also it’s looking at boosting its video appeal.
Remember when Pokemon Go took off and hoards of people roamed around the city together? Craving togetherness through a digital world is the inspiration behind Digital Hangouts. Have a look at the Houseparty App which is used by over one million people daily. Facebook have become aware of its success and it seems they are looking at ways of creating something similar. With social media welcoming video in a big way, these sorts of live video hangouts are the obvious next step.
Spaces taking you places
Facebook Spaces has massive potential – this is a new project dealing with an option enabling friends to connect in VR. As Facebook already own Oculus – VR hardware and software company – they have the technology at their fingertips to successfully drive this. In October Facebook unveiled their stand-alone VR headset (Occulus Go) retailing at a mere $199 (US). Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg says he is more “committed than ever to the future of virtual reality”. Occulus added in a blogpost that, “this all-in-one device makes VR more accessible than ever and represents a huge leap forward in comfort, visual clarity, and ease-of-use”. The strategy from the team is to make VR easy and accessible to all. Spaces will be the immersive large scale VR social media product for the future.