Predicting the future of social media can be so challenging. Who could have predicted social networks like Periscope or the Peach App 2 years ago? Who would have predicted that Snapchat would become such a big deal and the hottest social network of 2016. While things continue to change fast, I do think there are some trends that I feel confident in predicting:
- Facebook will Continue to Dominate – With over 1.6 billion active users globally and the continued growth of Instagram and What’s App, it’s hard to imagine Facebook not continuing to dominate the space. They continue to innovate internally (example: Facebook Live and Instagram Stories) and externally through acquisitions (example: Oculus Rift) that it’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing them in social engagement in the next 5 years. Anything can happen, but I don’t see Facebook becoming the next Myspace.
- The Gap between physical and online will minimize – Many people perceive their life in 2 places: online and offline (face to face). Through social media most people now have friends that they have never met face to face. Currently we separate those relationships perceiving them to be different but over the next 5 years, I think we will not see them so differently. For instance, I have many clients I have never met face to face. I have actually never met any of my employees face to face. I also would tell you that I’m closer to them than I am to most people that I know face to face. That likely sounds weird to you reading this, but 5 years from now I think this will actually be more of the norm for many of our personal and professional relationships.
- Mobile video will continue to grow – Video continues to take over social media and video created and consumed via mobile is the majority of that. Currently, many of those videos have poor production quality, but as mobile cameras and editing apps continue to improve as well as the creativity of those using, these technologies will go to new levels. Anyone anywhere will be able to create great video content with their mobile device and the majority of the views will be from mobile devices.
The reality of social media is that the one thing we know is that it will always be changing. Any social network that stays the same for too long will quickly become irrelevant. Humans are social by nature and using web technologies to connect people in social ways will only continue to grow and develop. It will sure be interesting to see what happens in the next 5 months much less trying to dream about what might be ahead for the next 5 years.
So, what does this mean for ministries?
Well, I wouldn’t ignore Facebook while also expanding efforts simultaneously to other social networks. I know it can be challenging to manage multiple networks and Facebook can be frustrating because you essentially have to pay to play, but it’s worth the investment with both your time and financial resources.
Finally, I would start making as many mobile videos as you can. The more mobile videos you create, the better each video will get. The better you get, the better you will be prepared for the future of social media.
Get ready, this social media trend is not slowing down any time soon and the world is only becoming more connected. This might be scary for many, but if you look at these trends as opportunities, the future can look very bright with incredible new ministry opportunities!