The Internet of Things and Social Media

Most of you have probably heard about the impending Internet of Things (“IOT”); but, for those of you who have not, the IOT is the next big thing that promises to have our everyday gadgets and wares communicating with us through our personal overlords (read: our mobile phones).  And, this could be a wide range of items, the microwave, the oven, the fridge: anything where chips and mini motherboards can be inserted is fair game.  If this does not sound appealing to you, I get it.  After all, I already practice a sort of slavish adherence to the needs of my iPhone, why would I also want my fridge instructing me to remove the food that is no longer best.  But, this is what is next: smart technology that is loaded with sensors and ready to communicate or caution us about the needs of our items.  The upside is, we can communicate with items, too, and create real-time environments.


The social media hook in this is that networks will become more intelligent and receive data directly shared by a surrounding collective. One of the best examples of this is the app Waze.  Waze allows users to enter information on the road as they observe it and share what they observed with others. I will present on this topic in a few months, but suffice it to state that Waze helps drivers optimize their trips.


One can also envision tourist guides being enhanced to include a more social experience.  When I studied abroad in England, I would have loved an interactive, real-time app that connected me with others who were also on such a journey. Instead, I traveled those parts of the world with a Lonely Planet and considering what is coming, that experience was initially lonely (until I had a few pints, then the friends came).


And, of course all the data generated by people means that the government and other corporate entities will feast on the data generated by we habitual creatures, but this is great news!  As long as you work in analytics, which I’m told we all will anyway.


In short, as an increasing amount of items are added to the digital ecosystem, we will see our ability to communicate with those items increase.  Those items, will also communicate with us.  And, in some cases, our communication will be shared with others and allow for real-time information sharing and informative environments.  This means sensors all over your homes, healthcare applications, even smart toothbrushes. I trust that it will be value-added, because it will be here to stay, not unlike the internet and social media.



  1. I really enjoyed reading your post. Your comments make me wonder how to best move forward with connected devices and social media. Should manufacturers of products or items be developing their own social tools like Nest or Fitbit, or would it be better for a company like Facebook, Twitter, or a new application to come up with a network that connects all of your devices to streamline your connected experience. I would lean to say that a single streamlined application would be more efficient, but developing such a tool to be compatible from a structure standpoint for so many different devices may be a cumbersome proposal.

  2. Nice post! I currently work for an IT company which talks about the repercussions of this all the time. What’s interesting to note, is that all the data that is being created needs to sit somewhere. The infrastructure behind creating a data sharing environment such as facebook can be incredibly costly for companies to build or maintain. Think about how many times twitter or amazon has gone down. What if your fridge just “went down” one day and all the food inside went bad as a result? You would have a lot of angry customers. Furthermore, once they have this massive amount of data, the question becomes “what do we do with it?”. Predictive analytics and data scientists have allowed companies to garner insight from all the noise. But as with everything else in life, it can cost a pretty penny.

  3. Great post! The Internet of Things fascinates me as it becomes an evermore possible reality. It’s the sort of thing that people 40 years ago would have talked about when discussing what the future will be like – “You’ll have a refrigerator that will talk to you and tell you when you’re out of food!?!?” To me, it’s a very cool concept, but I can see the downsides to always being connected and always being plugged in.

    Overall, very nice post. Good incorporation of graphics, too. I look forward to hearing your presentation!

  4. Thanks for your view on the topic! I recently participated in the Graduate Tech Trek field study where we visited 21 different companies on the west coast in Seattle and Silicon Valley. IOT is a topic that came up a lot across many of the companies. However, after listening to many views and predictions regarding this topic, I have come to the conclusion that not all of these IOT innovations will hold value and may be ahead of its time. Also, security, an already hot button topic will be heavily discussed in relation to this area. We can look at the new Amazon Echo of which many are already criticizing and question pre-release out of concern that Amazon will be constantly tracking sensitive data on the user/customer. Since the Echo is voice activated and triggered by key terms, some argue that Amazon will be able to monitor private conversations. I don’t necessarily think Amazon will encroach on customer privacy but this is a legitimate conversation that needs to be had. As such technologies evolve, we also have to evolve the way we think and discuss them.

  5. I’ve been hearing about the IOT for about 15 years now, so I’m a bit wary of saying its “the next big thing.” But it is coming in the future. The question is whether networking with devices is “social media.” I argue it is, but its a much more difficult question to resolve than you might think

  6. I have a varying opinion on the IOT, depending on the extent/capability it will have if/when it is ever incorporated on a large-scale. I think the ability to have so much data about our environments communicated to us (either via mobile, or, perhaps in the IOT, wearable or embedded technologies) could make amazing improvements. I think of this with primary regard to the growing need to live environmentally friendly. If your household gadgets could communicate and coordinate to conserve/redirect energy only to where it is needed for greatest efficiency, and this were done on a large scale, that could add up to impressive conservation of natural resources. However, the amount of data that will be inherent to the IOT and the ability to aggregate, analyze and act on personal data makes me question how we will make decisions in the future. Already, we see hints of Web 3.0 in something as simple as advertisements that are generated based on our past preferences and the cookies of our last visit to the site. While this helps direct the right information to the right people, I wonder about this kind of personalization being integrated very early on in life, and ubiquitously, as it could be in the IOT. Will having an environment that is aware of one’s preferences, and that responds to these preferences, limit one from developing new preferences through independent exploration? How will our preferences develop if we have an environment constantly trying to respond to our habits from a very early age? (Connected to this, how are children going to form friendships (based on interactive preferences) in a world that is collecting and sharing so much personal data between individuals?) I won’t pretend to understand exactly the extent and form of data that will come with the IOT, or when/if such an event will occur and on what scale, but I have mixed feelings about what kind of data can and should be collected to improve how we are serviced by our surroundings. Great Post!

  7. Owning several products that are connected myself, I am wary to check their social settings. While many of them can hook up to my social media accounts for my profile, I don’t want them to post on my behalf. My fitness tracker (or rather its accompanying app) will offer to post on my facebook or twitter every time I hit my goal. This can be everyday (I set my goal reasonably low to feel good about myself!) and this can lead to many people blocking my posts. I think that certain connected devices don’t yet know the proper way to connect to social media. While there is a lot that you can learn from these profiles, I am sure many users don’t see the value added from automatic postings. If these were mandatory, I am sure we would be seeing posts about a friend starting their laundry on a connected machine.

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