The future of social media is not social

How brands are being forced to look beyond the current conventions of social media

The word social can be defined in many different ways and has a rather ambiguous meaning. Two commonly recognised explanations, as stated by the Oxford English Dictionary, are:

  • relating to society or its organization
  • relating to or designed for activities in which people meet each other for pleasure


Taking the above definitions into association with social media, we understand that the likes of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have constructed an environment that is maintained upon virtual communication. Through interaction, a pocket of society has been sustained online. Since the introduction of social media, professionals have struggled in their attempts to outline these online activities. However, we all have a similar understanding and acknowledge on what can be considered social media, and what cannot.

But, is social media becoming more than that? Is the future of social media, not social at all?

As popular social media platforms develop, they look to enhance and improve user experiences by going beyond consumer expectations. For example, Twitter announced in 2013 that users would be able to change what they are watching on television by using the platform. This is not about communication or being social, it is about convenience. It is not social, or media, it is simply technology.

The brands and organisations that are succeeding on Twitter are those that are going beyond communication.

The NFL and the NBA, are another prime example. Having partnered with Twitter to allow fans to watch highlights and footage within the platform to capitalise on the relationship between TV and Twitter, these governing bodies have accessed a convenient platform for their consumers. With an extensively mobile audience that have an interest in sport, this partnership seemed perfect. But, is this progression social?

As platforms look to do more and enhance what they offer their demanding audience, they are being forced to look beyond the current conventions of social media. And, as they do, that definition of social media will remain as ambiguous as ever.

Further Reading