Thoughts and impressions from a senior in high school (Class of 2016):
Over the years, social media has evolved into a huge source of entertainment for the common Internet and smartphone user. It has gone from simple instant messaging, all the way to the new live filters available on Snapchat. Every major social media platform has undergone some changes in the past year, but what can we expect from a new year? Could a social media platform find a way to teleport food to other people’s electronic devices? Probably not, but it is extremely interesting to think of what could be next for social media users in 2016.
Facebook Predictions 2016
Facebook is the definition of social media for a majority of the population. It has been around since early 2004 and has grown tremendously over the years. Facebook started off as a closed beta for college students to communicate online. It is now a multi billion dollar company that has merged over fifty other companies and social media platforms.
I predict that in the next year Facebook will continue to expand, purchasing more smaller “social” companies. The basic format of Facebook will remain the same, as it has since its creation, but it will slowly implement the extra services that come along with its purchases. Facebook acquires small apps and companies to retain the technologies that the companies have worked to develop as Facebook is always looking to expand their services and their profits.
I doubt there will be any sharp decrease in usage of Facebook due to the fact that people are still making accounts. The number of active users on Facebook has more than doubled since 2011 and continues to increase, but at a slower clip. The rate of increase has started to level off which means less active users are logging on any given day. As users move to more mobile, spam free platforms to conduct their online social affairs, the heyday of Facebook will slowly come to an end.
Instagram Predictions 2016
Instagram started out as a mobile photo sharing app that gained over 100,000 users in the week following its release. Two years later it was purchased by the social media giant Facebook for one billion dollars. Since its purchase it has continued to grow to over 300 million users. In order to increase revenue Facebook employed ads on Instagram. This is exactly what drew some of the users away from Facebook.
I predict that Instagram will end up with lots of spam and advertisements taking over the interface. Some users will be unhappy with the changes but will stick around just like the users of Facebook did when it became cluttered with spam. People just can’t get enough of social media; especially when it comes to smartphone apps.
Twitter Predictions 2016
Twitter was created as a way to get quick updates and information out to your followers. The premise of Twitter is to keep posts to 140 characters or less. Since its creation the formatting has stayed the same for the most part. Updates affect mostly minor cosmetic changes as well as new features. Recent updates to Twitter include retweets with comments as well as direct messaging without following. Retweets with comments is significant because it now allows users to add their own thought to the tweet that is being retweeted.
Direct messaging without following is just what it sounds like, messaging people who you don’t follow. I could see this addition getting a little creepy or spammy. Over the past couple of years Twitter’s mobile presence has taken over. I predict that Twitter will continue to move toward being the more mobile friendly social media platform by moving toward more minimalistic formatting. All unnecessary, extra features will be removed to streamline the entire platform. People are busy and they will want a fast way to read the tweets, absorb the information, then move on with their day.
Snapchat Predictions 2016
Of all of the social media platforms I believe that Snapchat has changed the most since its creation. Snapchat started out as a quick way to send a “snap”, a quick picture, to your friends. Snaps could only be viewed for a short amount of time then they were gone. Since then, Snapchat has added filters, the option to draw on the pictures, snap stories, messaging, live video chat, live filters, snapcodes, and even ways to send money with your snaps.
All of these changes have increased popularity of Snapchat. More and more of the younger demographic has fallen in love with Snapchat. What is the appeal? I believe the reason young people are so obsessed with Snapchat is the fact that they can simply tap a message watch it, then send another snap back in a matter of seconds. The simplicity of the whole system is also very attractive for young people. There is very little “clutter” like spam and ads on Snapchat as of now. This allows for smooth operation and speedy use of the app.
I predict that in 2016 Snapchat will look to make more money off of its app. In 2015 the company added sponsored stories that companies could pay to post to and promote their brand on every Snapchat account. It started out as its own page tucked away but has made its way to the story page as a scrollable bar across the top of the page. I believe that there is more to come. It could get as extreme as mandatory ads that must be viewed before you can open a snap… Okay maybe not that extreme, but more ways or Snapchat to make money off of its enormous list of users. Ads, more visible and annoying discover stories are a solid bet for Snapchat in 2016.
Could we see public Snapchat view counts? What about a public user profile that shows the number of followers and following? Possibly verified accounts for those that are not celebrities?
When it comes to the future of social media, a safe bet is that all major social media platforms will be optimizing their services for simple, speedy, use, and mobile friendliness. The up and coming generations are glued to their mobile devices. As a result, social media is moving toward primarily mobile setups. Facebook bought Instagram, Twitter optimized to a mobile setup as well as creating the mobile app Vine. Social media is moving toward more minimalistic formats that are simple to operate and allow for quick information exchange, whether it be from friends, or followers.