I think it is fair to assume that people’s’ view on social media vary greatly in regards to what it is and it’s place in the world. Regardless of this variance in perception, I would say that most people whether they like social media or not would say that it is inherently the future, the latest communication channel that is capable of including anyone and everyone to varying degrees. According to expandedramblings.com, Twitter has 316 million active users, and about 1 billion total users (as of July 2015). Almost half (44%) of the users that have signed up for a Twitter account have never sent a tweet. I find this to be a tell-tale statistic. Is this number growing? Is the rate of Twitter adoption, as prominent as the platform is (1 billion total users) still climbing? I think it is fair to deduce that there are many who have anxiety when it comes to utilizing Twitter.
About 80% of world leaders use Twitter, another interesting stat that could shape expectations for the platform. Leaders lead and if they’re using Twitter than so will those they lead. Interestingly enough almost all other categories that measured use and adoption were below 50%. What can we conclude from this? I would say that Twitter is great for brands, an exceptional platform for those who have leverage in their influence and a growing platform for those who follow. I expect that like the telephone, social media will grow to global degrees if it already hasn’t. Will it morph into something else? Or will it simply become a standard in communication to which the technology caters to? Again, like the telephone, I expect that social media will be presented through more convenient means but will inevitably take a back seat to another form of communication, not replaced but eventually sidelined, much like an only child making room for the new baby. This is my expectation with all technology, Tim Wu’s The Master Switch reaffirms the ‘innovation cycle’ as a natural recourse to all technological advancements.
The hype cycle and the diffusion of innovation theory also reinforce the adaptive qualities of new innovations. Achieving critical mass for certain innovations will arguably seal their tenure to becoming commodities i.e. TV and telephone but, it doesn’t shield them from the constant demand for ease of use and autonomy.
I wonder if some find it discouraging that Moore’s Law has stood the test of time; at the risk of sounding too philosophical, I can’t help but wonder if money or passion is the driver for it all, I guess it might be a combination of the two but to address the more practical side of social media, I think it is fair to conclude that social media offers a tremendous amount of transparency that seemingly gets flooded by the tremendous amount of communicative flow. Notice I used the word ‘communicative’, instead of ‘informational’. I remember hearing that reading a page in a book under candlelight plays a different role on your perceptive ability versus reading the same page through the back-lit screen of a Kindle. What is the connection? Social media lacks the informational integrity but rather serves as a newsworthy harvest that is saturated by un-newsworthy weeds.
The speed at which communication spreads through social media is quite impressive; this is its greatest victory. Rightly so, it follows the historical progression, from the message embedded in the pigeon’s mouth to the telephone cable being networked across country, social media is the multimedia, wireless, individualized and grouped, first degree, second degree, third degree digital blab party that is here to stay. In conclusion, I expect change to change with the unchanged.