Coming out of last week’s panel on the future of social media at the Digital Media Conference 2008, I’ve been thinking more about the discussion we had and the questions from the audience.
One idea I’ve been thinking more about is that social media is as much a feature on any websites, or at least will be soon, as it is a destination. By destination I mean social networks (e.g. Facebook, MySpace and Linkedin), blogs and media sharing sites (e.g. YouTube and Flickr), etc.
The premise is that any website’s owner cares a lot about increasing the number of people who come to the website and spend more time on it. This translates into more pageviews, which equals more advertising inventory.
The fact is that the social web has broken through. People like it. They use it to interact with each other, discover new things and make new friends. What this means on a website is more engagement. In the past media has been largely a one way deal. Call it a monologue if you will. With social media we have the ability for a multilogue–a multitude of different conversations going in different directions. This means greater volume (pageviews), greater involvement with your website (people care enough to interact in your environment) and greater brand affinity and (a degree) of loyalty for those who are repetitively active.
The technology exists today to very easily and cost effectively add these features to your website. It’s a commodity. I think this is a good thing–clearly, since I work at KickApps.
So, fact #1 of the Future of Social Media = it’s no longer just a destination.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s not the future as much as it’s the present.