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  • Reid Thompson, University of Oklahoma

What's Ahead for Social Media

Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and continues to expand into our realities as well. As an older member of Generation Z, I do still remember a time before social media and can still recall the first day I saw Myspace. My social media experience began in the seventh grade. My classmates and I had all begun to receive iPhones and Facebook was the new hot thing to do. I remember rushing home from the local high school football game to create a profile to try and connect with a cute girl I had run into at the game.

Nowadays the story has changed; however, I feel social media has lost all of its “new car smell” and there is no longer a blind innocence to it. After all the data leaks and alleged election meddling, I feel the public perception of social media has changed. With all that being said I believe that social media will continue but will look different in the future.

As a member of Generation Z I believe our generation will continue to be active and involved on social media platforms, but not for the same reasons we used to be. I see social media forming into almost a side hustle for some people my age. They find ways to give value to their profiles and market themselves as “Influencers”. This trend is likely to continue as we treat social media less like a message board and more like a marketplace.

On the other hand, I would like to discuss the business aspect of these mega social media corporations and how that could look in the future. I do think there will soon be some sort of regulation forced upon the Facebooks and Twitters of the world. Facebook and Twitter have made it so difficult for new social media to arise. They are essentially an oligarchy in the social media market.

For 2020 and beyond, I do see Facebook and Twitter continuing he charge toward a split monopoly, but it will be interesting to see if any new faces emerge. There are also smaller social media companies like Snapchat and TikTok. Sadly, I don’t have much faith in either of these platforms. I don’t see the competitive advantage they have over Instagram and they both have fewer users. I see Snapchat as the most interesting platform because they do, in theory, have a unique quality over Instagram; however, they have had bad news recently about dropping usage. Snapchat could try to continue to differentiate itself from Instagram, but always faces the fear of Instagram just copying what they do.

Looking into my crystal ball for years 2020 and beyond, I see social media being closer to what we have today versus something wildly different. I think the major competitors will continue to drive the market, and it will continue to be quite difficult for new startup social media companies to breakthrough. To end with a bold prediction, I think the newest social media will come from a foreign country with less exposure to Facebook/Twitter.

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