For as long as I can remember, I have been "social." Beginning back in grade school and continuing through high school, talking in class and giggling with my friends was almost irresistible for me, at the unfortunate expense of my grades and to the annoyance of my teachers. I craved the connection and engagement with my friends...
Back in the day, communicating with my circle of friends sometimes meant note passing in class, perhaps the 1970s version of texting. Similar to texting, note passing was usually private (unless a boy or the teacher intercepted it). As a teenager, I graduated to my own phone line: a pink princess dial phone. One of my most pleasurable teenage memories is being in bed late at night while talking to girls, boys and even falling asleep while talking. I remember waking up many mornings to a knotted pink cord!
With a bit of envy, today I watch my teenage sons use their own communication "tools of the trade" like Facebook, Twitter, texting, video chatting, instant messaging and, sometimes, even blogging. A variety of platforms are used in combination to keep up with friends from school, camps, vacations, and more. Today's teens (and adults) are more global and mobile. This trending will continue.
My pink princess phone morphed into my first mobile cellphone which was so large as to require a bag. Today even the term cellphone is antiquated and has been replaced by "smartphone" or even more accurately, mobile device. Here is a startling statistic: 85 percent of what is transmitted over mobile devices is data and not voice, according to wireless analyst and expert, Chetan Sharma. Today's communication has decidedly tipped away from voice toward data-emails, texts vs. voice. In many cases, data or words are giving way to video and graphics as the preferred communication tools.
It's probably no surprise that "video chat" is the most appealing new platform to me. While reminiscent of my pink princess telephone days, video chat is where it's at! It's much more authentic, revealing and intimate where nuances in body language and facial expression are included in the messaging.
Video chatting is very popular with kids today as school doesn't provide as much time for socializing as teen might like. So frequently, late at night, teens gather for a nightly "intimate" video chat from the comfort of their own bed. Imagine how "connected" these kids feel toward each other. Due to their changes in biological clocks, they may be up late at night (and difficult to awake in the morning). Video chat provides a late night virtual gathering place to discuss the anything and everything including the school day, teachers, homework, friends, siblings, etc.
For my own personal and business brand, it's essential to maintain my own digital presence across a variety of social media platforms including: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and my various blogging platforms. At age 52, I am still as "social" as I was in grade school, high school and so on. if I can do it, so can you.
Because social media is my "job", I am more "wired" than my friends. While they are worried about how many hours they spend in the gym, I am contemplating my "Klout" score!
For as long as I can remember, I have gravitated to technology. It should be no surprise that I was the first Mom in my circle to have a Blackberry. I remember that one of my girlfriends even called me "a man" when she saw the device in my hand.
So while I am clearly engaged in social media from both a personal and professional standpoint, why do I claim that it's a "fad"? And, what might the future "social media platforms" look like?
Here is my opinion. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, are clearly fads. Similar to other "fads" like IBM Selectrics, Wang Word Processors, IBM PCs and clones, and soon, tablets, smartphones. Just like note passing has morphed into the video chat so has business conversation grown and been amplified. We can and do engage in global conversations in real-time and over video channels. These platforms have enabled new ways of communications and information sharing which will forever change the way that we interact and over engagement. And that's what's NOT a fad.
What will the future look like for what is now considered "social media?"
-- multiple platforms will be combined into singular internet presence. Today, it's tedious to maintain profiles and engage on LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging and more. I believe that's a single "place" on the Internet for each person will evolve quickly.
-- the "line" between personal data vs. professional data will become further blurred as the more personal platform Facebook tries to emulate the professional LinkedIn and vice versa.
Having seen many fads come and go, I may be able to make an educated guess about the future. Another source of "reliable" predictions of future technology maybe embedded in each episode of The Jetsons. What's more is that you can see it on YouTube anytime that you'd like!
Mark my words: In less than 10 years, we'll look back nostalgically at Facebook/Twitter and iPads/iPhones just as I look back at my pink princess phone, my most prized possession back in high school.
"This is your time and it feels normal to you, but really, there is no normal. There's only change and resistance to it and then more change... " This comes from actress Meryl Streep in a college commencement speech. I wonder who the next Mark Zuckerberg will be....