So Where is it Headed? Initial Expectations of Social Media

“The only thing that is constant is change.”

Apple executives reportedly were seen in a German BMW facility, in discussions about the revolutionary BMW i3, earlier this year.

Apple executives reportedly were seen in a German BMW facility, in discussions about the revolutionary BMW i3, earlier this year.

If you heed this timeless advice, you and your organization may be able to better position itself in the evolving environment around you. If you fail to do so, you will face the wrath of the changes that Father Time always bring forth. Apple is positioning itself for what is perceives to be the future by investing heavily into wearable technology and- reportedly, alongside major competitor Google- self-driving autonomous vehicles, in collaboration with BMW. The Apple Watch has already gotten off to a very shaky start, and developing autonomous-car technologies will definitely be extremely expensive and high stakes.

Experts have claimed that the camera technology of this car, spotted driving around Cupertino, is clearly sophisticated enough to be attempting autonomous driving testing. Even more curious- the license plate was issued to the extremely secretive Cupertino company, Apple.

Experts have claimed that the camera technology of this car, spotted driving around Cupertino, is clearly sophisticated enough to be attempting autonomous driving testing. Even more curious- the license plate was issued to the extremely secretive Cupertino company, Apple.

Will Apple’s gambles on these new products pay off? I am not sure- but Apple is betting its livelihood on it. One thing I can guarantee, however, is that the wearable technology space and automotive industry WILL change dramatically. It’s just a matter of when, and more importantly, how.

One of the most rapidly evolving entities of our lifetime has been Social Media. And the truth is, it is changing so quickly that many are already questioning what it actually is. To demonstrate this point, lets look at Meriem Webster’s definition of Social Media:

Forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)

I believe the role of Big Data in today’s Social Media is so immersive and critical that it cannot be excluded from the definition. The definition provided above places an extreme emphasis on the interactions between users and other users- which, of course, is absolutely true of social media.

But a new conversation is developing on social media platforms, even more-so between different users. It is so critical, and yet so subtle, that we are taking it for granted and not even realizing its presence its our daily lives. And that is the conversation between the social media platform itself and its users. These platforms are becoming exporters of data vs. importers of data, and are refining data collected to create revolutionary, personalized insights for users. 

Facebook has dominated the Social Media space almost since its inception back in 2004, achieving new levels of success and monopolization by introducing marketing techniques, product superiority (especially in terms of user-friendliness and simplicity), and operational effectiveness that trumped pioneers Friendster and MySpace. But how much has Facebook changed in the past 11 years? And how will the revolutionary role of Big Data change the platform moving forward?

Facebook didn't provide analytics and insights during its early years, but users still inputted information abiut themselves regularly, primarily relying on network effects for value from the platform

Facebook didn’t provide analytics and insights during its early years, but users still inputted information about themselves regularly, primarily relying on network effects for value from the platform

What if Facebook one day recommends going on a run in the morning, instead of going on a run in the afternoon? Or what present to get your spouse for their birthday?

What if Facebook one day recommends going on a run in the morning, instead of going on a run in the afternoon? Or what present to get your spouse for their birthday?

For starters, the relationship between users and the platform have changed drastically. Initially, users were replied upon heavily to input their own information and demographics into the site, and the main purpose of the site was to provide you with the information that others inputted on the site about themselves. Lots of data was being collected on the user base, but the data was not being analyzed and processed, just presented to other users. Today’s Facebook utilizes the data inputted from users (and now, data collected autonomously with advanced information technology) to gain a revolutionary level of insight about users, and provide/curate content relevant and specific to them. Every single person’s Facebook experience is radically different, and is curated based on experiences even outside of the realm of the platform itself. If you frequently visit a store, and Facebook has access to your location your mobile device, you will find special deals and discounts for that store the next time you’re scrolling through your News Feed. If you listed to a lot of music by Beyoncè, it can recommend a nearby concert that she will be touring at. But the extraordinary amount of information collected by social media platforms will enable them to become extremely personalized decision making platforms for users in the near future. Facebook will be able to recommend what classes to take/what major to study in college, based on advanced analytics tools enabling it to understand us better than we understand ourselves. It will tell two people how compatible they are, not based on a short survey that both filled out, but based on years upon years of information collected on each person and predictive capabilities based on BILLIONS of other cases. And it will even make introductions between various unrelated people, not based on mutual friends or mutual institutional groups, but based on personality insights that no one could ever dream of before.

Social mediais gaining so much data and analytics tools that it is becoming more than just inanimate platforms

Social media is gaining so many data and analytics tools that it is becoming much more than anything we’ve ever experienced before

Imagine that every conversation you’ve ever had, and any experience you’ve ever had, happened in the same exact room. Before, the room was inanimate; it simply provided a location for you to talk to your friends and have great experiences. But what if the room could hear everything going on inside? See everything, feel everything, smell everything? And lastly, what if it could even talk to you, both when you are alone and enjoying experiences with others? The union between Big Data and Social Media will allow social media platforms will know more about us than we can ever hope to know. And if (when) Artificial Intelligence is added to the mix, human decision-making will never be the same. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? 

3 comments

  1. Very interesting post. I really like your concluding statement about the union of big data and social media and that it will allow social media platforms to know more about us than we know about ourselves. Whether this is a good or bad thing, I am not sure. However, I am very skeptical and critical about it. I am not sure that I want anyone to know more about me than I know about myself. To be able to segment consumers with such incredible detail is every marketing professional’s dream, but what about the consumers’ right to privacy? For the average Joe it is almost impossible to control the information we share about ourselves, when we visit different websites or google stuff we are curious about. It seems like we only have two choices: Accept that data will be collected about you, or unplug your life.

  2. Great post Faizan! I love how you started talking about where technology is going with the automated car example and then continued on your thoughts about how Facebook has completely changed during these last years. I agree with @rasmusca last sentence. Where the world is going it seems that we have no other choice, but to accept that all types of data is being collected about us and there’s not much we can do to stop this.

  3. @porrom @rasmusca I’m glad you liked the post! Thank you for the read :)

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