The Future of Social Media

September 15th, 2009  |  Published in Commentary  |  1 Comment

Here in IBS, one of our current tasks is to describe our vision of the future of Social Networks and Social Media (in the next three to five years).

To get started, Reijo gave us a Mashable post and a SlideShare presentation to enable some insights on the current ideas about tech and the influence on social, digital interactions.

These are the themes that I came up with so far.

Additional inspiration came from J. Owyang and C. Li.


technology pervades everything BUT is acting as a bridge between people or people and objects

immersive interaction metaphors require no special knowledge (contrasting to: keyboard, mouse)

examples: RFID tags, augmented reality apps, immersive tele-conferencing, project natal, vision 2019, mind-reading tech


opportunity cost, friction for changing a device, place, situation is approaching zero:

activities happen in real time, user adaption (syntax, knowledge, habits) becomes unneccessary

examples: realtime search, touch interfaces, natural language commands (Mozilla ubiquity), speech commands, gestural interfaces


every thing (physical object) is connected to the web,

all information about all things is interconnected

there will be no line between different applications (contrast: Gmail, Moodle, Joomla, WordPress, Word Document, Notepad, Paper or SMS vs. Email vs. Facebook Chat vs. IM), documents as such don’t exist anymore

no passwords, no profiles, only ONE constantly-connected individual

examples: Arduino, portable identity (Facebook connect, OpenID), semantic web, Google Wave Applications and Basics

contextualization, where, when, who

computers, services know the users context and adapt accordingly


when GPS locates you in office, cellphone is muted, callers get info about next available spot on your schedule

when you write in a “word processor” (text input field), spell-checking will recognize the language without needing any manual settings

a service knows your media consumption preferences, shows you only videos or transcribes audio-only material to text based on usage patterns

information normalization, one right answer

based on connected information and natural language processing, services will be able to fully interpret a users intent,

when one definite answer can’t be computed, the activity will run in a feedback circle with another human (à la Aardvark, Amazon Mechanical Turk or Elance) in real time

examples: curated datasets (Wolfram Alpha), recommendation engines (Amazon, Netflix)

Influence on social media and social relations (scenarios):

Reviews from amazon can be viewed inside the book (small screen), user can see the relationships of reviewers (who is also publishing their books with this company?), authers biography can also be looked up.

Your fridge knows its content (RFID) can send you an SMS “buy milk” or order the groceries via email and have them delivered to your home.

Your computer identifies you via facial recognition, logs you into all needed systems.

You read a book by opening it in MS Word, edit the text as you wish, put in your own words, click a button and your prose will be converted to bullet points (for a presentation in power point). Additionally, pictures to illustrate your point are added automatically by a recommendation engine.

If the computers, devices around you know all facts in the world (even events), relationships, jobs and the basis for recognition in relationships is changing quite heavily.

If your computer/cellphone can exactly characterize a new contact by his facial expression, facebook activity log and other internet activities, you won’t meet many people outside of your comfort zone.

  • This growth is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Students comprise the majority of social networking users in Germany. As a result, the most popular social media site is StudiVz, which caters specifically to this demographic. ...

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