With technology developing at an ever-increasing rate, one could argue that there will always be a liminal universe of social media. The advertising and income related to social media are likewise, ever-changing. The social media recognized in 2018 had different marketing. Big followings, monetizing ads, tying influencers and followers together, photos, text, and video were important. The social media of tomorrow is progressing into being a totally different animal. Savvy influencers are already preparing themselves for the changes to come. The future of social media is already changing into what its next stage is. We can see it on forward-thinking apps like TikTok. The future of social media marketing is shaping into smaller followings, algorithm-driven big ones, real, face-to-face connections, compact content, owning an audience, monetizing with NFTs and subscribers, and interactivity.
Adjustments by previously established influencers need to be made to blend in with the development of social media. Having a big following no longer translates into advertisements, and smaller influencers could have the leg up. Making more personal, real connections with followers translates into more money than competing for followers. The fake reality shown by only demonstrating the best of life, pictures, food, travels is becoming dull for viewers. After seeing this content nonstop for almost a decade, followers find it taxing to constantly see it. More and more do people crave reality. More and more are those still embracing the methods of old look tired and cliché on their pages. People want more from entertainment than just what glitters.
Social Media Past
Andrew Chan tweeted about this. It got me thinking about the importance of reality and the parallels of social media and other platforms. In its early days, people mocked film for being cheap, stupid, and pulp entertainment. In a way, it was. You could make films extremely fast. Early directors could make hundreds of films in their careers. Jean-Luc Godard, a modern director well known for his utilization has made 130, D.W Griffith made over 500! The studios could pump them out so cheaply and sell them out quickly. Movies were 5 cents when they first came out, a percentage of the cost of a theatre ticket. And, movie houses were often the only places in town with air conditioning. Films offered easy, cheap entertainment for Americans and it quickly became a pastime.
Regarded as low-art by the upper class, who loved the temporality of theatre, films were entertainment for the masses. If you missed an opera show, that was it. If you weren’t in town, if you couldn’t afford tickets, you’d miss a great show. Films screened all over the country for a low cost and replayed for weeks, sometimes months, depending on its popularity. I think this parallels social media. It’s considered cheap and pulpy now. But, that’s because we don’t yet know its full potential. Films couldn’t use sound when they were first made, and had to work around silent shooting. Directors hadn’t yet mastered the ins and outs of editing and writers hadn’t learned to perfect the screenplay until decades in.
Social Media Present
Social media, to me, is the same. We’re currently in the formative years. It needs to reach its full potential. It can obviously be used as a tool to connect, unite, share, move and communicate with people. But, as it is currently used, hasn’t found its true stride. With the guaranteed coming developments, I think social media will pick up part of its full potential. The limitations of reaching the masses through massive followings create issues with individuality. If you’re more concerned with being liked than being yourself, nobody will like you. Bigger followings are more determined by algorithmic means than by competition now than they were before. This means media on pages with big followings will find subscribers by narrowing their specific interests. It is a better time than ever to be authentic on social media.
The use of interactive media is something formerly unseen. Perhaps we will see a future where interactive media is as omnipresent as photographed media. Yesterday, communication between creator and viewer could take forever or be almost non-existent. If a talk show host said something you didn’t like, you could write into the studio, but unlikely read. Then, when social media erupted, we could communicate with creators almost directly. Commenting or tagging people in posts offered a delayed reaction to their actions. Now, interactive content offers media you can use to communicate with people in the moment. Imagine a talk show, where, in the middle of the program, you could send in a question for the interviewee in question. This could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on who is using it. But, the same argument could be made for photographs, films, and written language.
NFTs are rushing to becoming the new means of currency. People can make their own NFTs and profit from them. It’s moving faster than recognized banks can keep up with, and money might very well be back in the hands of the people in the coming generation. A peaceful transition of power, influencers and creators have platforms to learn about NFTs in ways previously unthinkable. Earning money from creating entertainment or educational media radically shifts our entire financial habitat. Before, goods and services created money for people. Now, creating media does the same thing. Viewers have the luxury of living in a state where they could potentially constantly be learning and growing. Influencers have the benefit that they can make their own money that isn’t dependent on a lender system.
Considering small followings, niche interests, alternative means of currency and original content is the way for developing influencers. You don’t know what marketing will value in 10, 15 years. But, you can still keep up with the current demands the average social media user wants from their feeds.
Featured image by Hadija Saidi for UNSPLASH.COM