Things we're thinking about this week.
Social Media - what's next?
A lot of news on social lately - data leaks to the future of what it's going to look like. Is Facebook over? Can it be saved? Is somebody else going to take over? What's going to happen? What the hell is even going on?
Social Media is a very strange place (not just in Hong Kong but all around the world). It's easy to forget that it didn't really exist 10 years ago (it had really just started opening up to everyone), so it's easy to not realise that just like technology, it's a constantly evolving space. What exists now is going to look dramatically different in a few years (Hello Snapchat!).
What's interesting to look at is 1) what the technology is going to enable us to do and 2) where our attention is going to go in the future. Let's tackled these one at a time.
Tech - for the greater good
If there's one this that tech and social media are good at, it's connecting people. It's so easy to send a message/email/connect on social that we take it all for granted. Everything is instant and we are able to make connections in ways that weren't possible in the past. What tech is failing to do now though is establish deep meaningful connections - and this is what I think the next evolution of tech/social will look to accomplish.
Tech makes it easier to connect, but there's still no replacing face-to-face connections (whether for business or just friendly gatherings). Even with video chat, there's a barrier that tech hasn't been able to solve.
When we look at communities online (Facebook/Instagram or WhatsApp groups) there's still a massive barrier to getting people to engage (this can be partially geographical/cultural - especially in Hong Kong where people don't necessarily want to publicly voice out). So certain tools still need to be developed to help facilitate the way we engage and make deep connections (like we do physically when in person - there's still no real way of replacing the value of a hug when meeting a close friend for example).
Tech and social media are great at keeping in touch, but it's important to understand that these tools are (still at this stage) here to facilitate and amplify and not designed to replace actual connections. Maybe one day, but that day hasn't come yet.
Attention - what's going to matter in a few years?
Where/how we spend time is going to dictate what tech flourishes and what dies. Everyone is spending tons of time on their phones and gadgets and that was only really made possible with the advancement of technology (everything becoming faster, smarter and smaller). But, the next phase isn't going to be determined by tech but instead by what can capture people's attention.
There is a tonne of great content out there and people are going to eventually meet a threshold where they can't possibly consumer any more than they do (there are only so many hours in the day - better tech isn't going to allow you to watch 25 hours of content each day for example). What's going to grab people is great content that people can't help but consume.
The greatest value (that hasn't been properly exploited yet) is live content. There are only so many events in the world that require you watch live (award shows or sporting events) because watching delayed is almost meaningless (spoilers). It's the one avenue that on-demand content (i.e. Netflix) can't compete with.
If people can solve LIVE and give a reason for people to tune in, they're going to win the battle for attention. What comes next though, we'll have to wait and see.