Let’s start with this fact – 2016 was a fundamentally transformative year for social media. Online interactions were already deeply embedded in the way that people lived their lives, but this year saw a massive overhaul in how that pervasiveness bled out of the computer screen and into the real world. Understanding the ramifications of online interaction is central to understanding social media in the coming year.

2017 is set to be the year that social media takes on a more serious role for people. This year, social media will not be simply escapism, it’s going to transform into something far more substantive.

People will tire of Twitter

Though Facebook is going to stay dominant in the social media landscape, thanks in no small part to Mark Zuckerberg’s almost omniscient understanding of how people want to connect, Twitter isn’t going to fare so well. The problem with Twitter is that the short form, bullet quick nature of the platform leads to exhaustion.

Think of Twitter like that high school friend who was lots of fun but would never just be quiet at the lunch table. You hang out with them for entertainment reasons for a while (those jokes were spot on), but eventually you just want a bit of peace and silence.

In this era of uncertainty, social media users want more than 140 characters a thousand times a day – they want to dig deeper into things that they’re interested in once a day. A lot of this was coming already, but seeing Twitter constantly featured on the evening news will make the demise of Twitter speed up considerably.

Fake news creates distrust

When the Pope is talking about social media, you know it’s going to be big. And in late 2016, Pope Francis was talking about fake news.

Up until now, most folks were pretty trusting of their news feed. They believed what they read, at least for the most part. 2017 will change all of that. People will simply stop trusting in the internet as much, which truth be told should probably have happened a while back. How exactly this goes down is still up in the air, but expect companies like Facebook and Google to take further action to slow down the spread of fake news. Also expect to see social media habits change thanks to fake news, with individuals looking toward trusted sources of news instead of viral posts.

Fake news, who’s spread has been facilitated by social media is a major problem for social media platforms. If people can’t trust what they’re seeing in their newsfeed, then they might step away from it.

Advertising makes a comeback

One of the big ramifications of the rise of fake news will be the rise of advertising. The organic methods of getting content out there are going to fall away as readers demand more transparency in their information. That transparency will lead to companies finding more success with traditional, paid advertising that’s straightforward. Look for more social media advertising in 2017.

This isn’t going to just happen in Google and Facebook – Instagram and Snapchat (now Snap) have already started dipping their toes into the world of sponsorship. This is only going to expand in 2017 as businesses seek more and deeper integration with people where they’re at. And just to be clear, where they’re at is on social media.

Augmented reality invades social media and life

2015 saw the roll out of short form video through social media. 2016 saw that short form video begin to trickle down from corporations to real people. 2017 will see real people utilizing social media to communicate in mundane ways, in daily life. Facebook is set to launch some new, Snap style video filters this year following its acquisition of Masquerade. YouTube Is pushing its limits in 2017 with more social media style functions like texting and chat.

This year, it’s all going to flow together into one whole life experience. Augmented reality as showcased in Pokemon Go and Snap filters will become even more integrated in life, and not just for younger people.

Social media demographics will shift

This is another area that we’ve already seen start shifting. With the continued push towards social media that’s inclusive of all age demographics. Though technology will always be more readily accepted by younger generations, social media has graduated to a form of communication to an essential form of informational engagement. People over the age of 50 will be more present on the social media landscape than ever before in 2017 as the seek to engage more fully with the wider conversations they’re seeing in more traditional sources.

Social media is already an essential form of connection for many of us, but this year that embedded nature will become more pronounced. We are part of a revolution that’s akin to the rise of the telephone or the TV , and this is the year that social media will rise to grab its place as the preferred form of communication.

Inspiration takes center stage

Results oriented content on social media is going to take a backseat to inspiration in 2017. After a harrowing 2016 in which social media was dominated by the news cycle, the coming year will be much more focused on people finding inspiration in their newsfeeds. Social media success is going to be closely tied to hitting people in their emotional gooey spot in a positive way. Emotion is a key element to viral content, and this year will be all about how social media can lift people up.

Every year we see social media taking on a more prominent role in the daily life of people all over the world. 2017 is going to be the year that social media becomes essential, that it takes its place as the dominant form of human communication. That might sound like a bit of an exaggeration, but given the massive changes we saw in the world of social this year, it’s not an inaccurate one.


Pete Peranzo

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