Where does social go from here, how does it get there, and why?
It feels like the hype around social is waning, but this is actually a signal for those who can hear it—and it's also predictable. Other social technologies have all gone through this step.
Here is the 2020 vision for social technology and why it has nothing to do with your 12 year-old's version of social.
Bye Bye Social Networking, Hello Social Business
Social networking will disappear, but social engagement will be everywhere, because social technology always fragments. Here's why—the tools of techniques of social engagement work. They work by reducing engagement costs around connecting, communicating, collaborating and helping us shape our many different communities. This means they are a productivity tool, and business loves productivity tools.
Fragmentation occurs when the tools and techniques of social engagement are shifted into niche domains. An example of this is Skoolbo, the world's largest game based early childhood education platform. Skoolbo creates social engagement between early learners, their teachers, parents, and their grandparents to help children with core skills development.
The Future Is Here
Brands everywhere are creating direct engagement with their markets because they finally can. This is really the first time companies have been able to directly connect with individual consumers and business partners because of the intimacy afforded by social technology. Innovative firms are also using these tools to connect their employees in new ways, change the way they interact with their suppliers and even their investor communities.
Engagement has never been so engaging. As a social technology empowered force, the markets have spoken and we want to use these tools to enhance the experience of our lives and our interactions with each other and with the companies we choose to deal with.
You've probably heard of big data, but the real news is new data. The location and time based data that social technology generates is driving big data and new data. But it's really the big and new information and then the big and new knowledge that will come from this data that matters the most.
We Can Learn From The Social Past
Prior social technologies like the printing press and the landline telephone did the same thing–they made us smarter and more productive. Massive waves of economic growth and innovation followed these innovations and we're now at the cusp of a social technology fueled wave that some of us are already riding. Economies that adopted the printing press grew almost 4x as fast as those that did not.
The more context there is in social engagement, the better the tools work—business is the future of social for this reason. You can thank your 12 year-old for getting the world up the social technology learning curve, the really disruptive stuff is only now beginning.
The world will be all social, all the time by 2020, and this time, you'll love it.