The Social Lights, a “social media marketing consultancy,” and possibly the most millennial-sounding business venture to ever exist, has released its list of social media predictions for 2018. While we all love to prognosticate on the future of just about everything (where will Lebron go in ’18? will Instagram ever bring back chronological order? will Stranger Things 3 be awful or just not that good?), these people do it for a living, so let’s leave it to the pros.
Predictions are broken down according to the platform, and include quotes from some of their best talent. In an effort to get your 2018 social media game off to a good start–all bets are off when it comes to irl–here are the juiciest bits.
Apparently people still use this? I thought it was only my mother and her friends but hey, you learn something new every day.
A. Inte(great)ion – As Facebook matured and acquired boatloads of cash, it put some of that money to use acquiring Instagram and major-VR-player Oculus, among others. In 2018, Drew Gneiser looks forward to them tying up all these loose ends into a neat little entertainment bundle to share with your friends. “The possibility that Facebook makes Stories on Facebook, Instagram and messenger all one cohesive experience” makes him want to cream his pants. No, just kidding, but it is something he “look[s] forward to seeing.” Same thing, basically.
B. AR (not 15) – This stands for “augmented reality” for all y’all not in the know. And Katie Mangan sees “something big” going down this year involving the use of this tech. After all, as I noted, Facebook acquired Oculus and has seemingly sat on it besides Mr. Zuckerberg’s tone deaf VR “appearance” in disaster-ridden Puerto Rico which I won’t even link to lest you watch and lose all faith in Silicon Valley and decide that our tech overlords are clueless, socially-awkward know-it-alls who would rather hangout in their “clouds” amongst compressed data than with live human beings. Anyway, as she notes, Facebook simply “can’t afford to be far behind Snap in that venture” who are seriously killing it with those AR dog-ear-filter-things.
C. AI – Barring its vanquishment of the human race, AI will be put to work in 2018 providing comfort and insight for its feeble-minded, oxygen-dependent users. Kelsey Marquardt identifies two such spaces primed for a revolution: suggested content and social care. The former is rather self-explanatory, as we experience it already in Amazon’s “if you liked_____, you’ll also like______” recommendations. The latter is known informally as chatbots, Turing-tested typing humanoids who interact with you on behalf of their creator. This babies will “finally become mainstream” in 2018, as brands “look to create more personal experiences for their fans” by interacting with them through computer code. Ironic, isn’t it.
Instagram will likely remain the worst social media platform for the blind. Besides that, changes are in store. And maybe this is your year to finally become Insta-famous so you can stop using so many darn hashtags in an attempt to get noticed #hashtagoverload.
A. You ain’t f***ing with my click, my click, my click – According to Kelsey Anderson, Amazon’s patent on the “one-click” purchase expires in 2018, leaving the floodgates open for imitators. “Watch,” she says, “for Instagram to build out a best-in-class ‘tap to buy'” in response. In tepid sign of hope for those of us chronological-ers, she also has hopes of an “algorithm that allows users to see newer posts first.” Fingers crossed.
B. Let’s link up – For Joe Bozic, 2018 sees Instagram finally tapping into its “link-traffic potential” by offering clickable links. “Brands,” furthermore, “will finally set themselves free from the prison that is the Instagram bio,” instead allowing links to “live freely in the post copy.” Viva la revolution, and long live freedom.
C. Speak, easy – With Instagram fast becoming a major player in “choosing destinations,” Ms. Marquardt sees them introducing a “‘comments and reviews”‘ section to rival TripAdvisor. Awesome. Great. As if we didn’t have enough places for people to spew their darn opinions on everything they eat and do.
To sum up, Instagram is going to make it easier for you to go from browsing images of your friends’ daily activities to buying and reviewing goods and services. In response, I’m unfollowing anyone with a Rolex; I don’t need that temptation in my life.
Twitter, or, the official communication service of the White House
Short of banning Mr. Trump, Twitter is going to do everything it can to up its game in 2018, or risk falling behind the pack. The expansion to 280 characters, which apparently is seeing great results, is only the beginning. So don’t get too comfortable, ya tweeters, this little birdie’s’ nest is starting to shake.
A. Tools of the trade – Look for Twitter to “introduce more native content creation tools,” says Ben Nesvig. In what is perhaps the most obvious, as well as most understated, prediction of the entire report, he goes on to note that this “text-first platform needs to adapt to the visual age…if it hopes to drive revenue,” let alone survive.
B. Curing curation – Following “other platforms success in ‘Discovery’-style sections,” Stephanie Steiner sees Twitter improving its “Explore” tab. This includes a possible “top tweet” section based on user-specific categories or topics. It’s the least they can do, in the words of our analyst, to “make it more relevant to users,” especially those with a thirst to explore.
C. Value-creation – Due to its’ “recent user growth,” says Fatin Omerabi, an “upward tick” in stock value is likely as advertising revenue expands. How this will effect user experience in uncertain, though a higher stock price is a good sign for anyone afraid Twitter will be bought, or simply disappear.
With all these improvements coming down the pipeline, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to answer the question “Why should I go outside today?” Fact is, as long as your favorite local pizza joint is still delivering, you shouldn’t.
If for some reason you feel like doing my job for me, the full presentation can be found here.