Social Media Predictions for 2014

It’s no longer an issue of whether or not social media will influence our lives from culture to business, but how it will change and evolve year to year. In a recent LinkedIn blog post, Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, forecasted his predictions for social media change over the next year:

“Ephemeral” sites like Snapchat, where instant content messages leave the internet universe as quickly as they entered it, will increase in popularity.

“Just like a real-life interaction – where ideas flow freely and you generally don’t worry about everything being recorded for posterity and broadcast to the world – SnapChat and networks like it offer a channel for genuine, unfiltered exchange. And the kids really like it. While Facebook’s own CFO officially acknowledged last month that teen use of his network is declining, the number of teens on SnapChat – at least anecdotally – is exploding.”

Educational institutions will further integrate social media into their practices in business and in the classroom.

“As social media has gone mainstream, it’s become a major factor in how people are evaluated in the real-world – for jobs, educational opportunities, and much more. A recent survey by Kaplan Test Prep, for example, showed that nearly one-third of college admissions officers now look at applicants’ social media profiles to learn more about them.”

“The good news is forward-thinking educators have begun taking note of these trends and are bringing social media into the classroom – even at the high school level. History and journalism teacher David Cutler at Palmer Trinity School in Florida, for example, conducts classroom discussions on online etiquette and teaches his students how to politely navigate an increasingly digital world. In 2014, we will see more schools recognize social media as an asset, teaching social media and digital skills to better equip their students for our changing world.”

Social advertising will continue on its path towards dominance in the world of marketing.

It’s an industry already worth billions and accelerating fast, expected to hit $11B in revenues by 2017. So what’s behind the growing success of social ads? For one, they’re proving to be a lot more effective than some traditional forms of advertising, like banner ads. While online banner ads are now pretty much ignored (clicked on 0.2 percent of the time), Promoted Tweets show engagement of one to three percent – up to 15 times better.”

“Social ads have another big—but easily overlooked—virtue: They work better on mobile devices than traditional ads because they take up less space and fit small screens better. By the end of 2013, there will be 1.4 billion smartphones on earth, one for every nine people. Collectively, that’s a ton of new real estate that advertisers are just beginning to reach.”

Online videos will become the television of the future for millennials.

Did you know that currently, 1 in 3 millennials watch less TV than they do online videos, or no TV at all?

“It makes sense. Many millennials – those born roughly from the late 1980s to 2000s – grew up on a steady diet of viral content via sites like YouTube: cat fails, hot new music videos, comedy mashups, etc. As a result, this demographic is incredibly comfortable with the medium of online video and consume it collaboratively, sharing choice clips with their friends on social networks.”

“In 2013, we saw Instagram – now the 2nd most popular social network amongst teens – play into this rising trend, with the launch of its new video capabilities. (Sorry, Vine.) Add to this the emergence of Snapchatwhich lets users share short video clips (along with text or images) that only last for a few seconds.”

“By 2020, millennials will comprise half of the US workforce so it’ll be interesting to see how this type of immediately accessible, free content further evolves as more and more digital-savvy, video-loving workers begin to take up the reins in businesses.”

Do you agree or disagree with these predictions? How else might these changes, and their further evolution in years to come, affect the way we work? With the lightning speed of change happening in the technology space, in ten years – maybe less – the business world could be unrecognizable from what it is today.

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