Social media a flash in the pan? Say it ain’t so, Drew.
I believe the opposite will occur. Social media won’t be a flash, it will be a light bulb. Just as we flick a switch and expect a light bulb to turn on, so will we expect social media to be readily available anytime, anywhere when we flick the switch that is our Internet connection. It will become so ingrained that we won’t think of it as any separate form of communication at all.
For years we’ve been able to blog and email and generally leverage digital communications to be social. We’re just now recognizing this activity as a unique phenomenon and branding it accordingly. Twitter, Facebook and the like are just organized, centralized places to have conversations using basic communications forms – digitized type, images, audio and video. The only thing new here is how we can so easily share the conversations.
What does this mean for communications professionals thriving or drowning in what social media is today? The same as if social media went away like a flash in the pan. “Social media” experts will be about as sought after as typists because all digital properties – from news sites to product pages – will soon be inherently social. Especially as social media sites act less as destinations and more as services (The first steps of this evolution are Facebook Connect and Google SideWiki) we’ll rely less on those centralized locations at Facebook or Twitter and look more to have conversations at socialized Web sites (think Web 3.0) that work with what we know now as our Facebook or Google profiles to organize the conversations.
As social media become decentralized and turns the Internet into one huge forum where anyone can comment anywhere, communications professionals will no longer focus on isolated sites and conversations and have to think about broader communications strategies. Businesses will continue to need help navigating a digital communications landscape without boundaries, and communications professionals will have greater opportunities to access consumer perspectives with those walls torn down, which will hopefully result in better products and services to come.
When I grow up, I want to be what I am today, a communications professional. I think what comes of social media will make this career path more steady and sought after.