It’s been a busy 12 months for the social media industry, and the next 12 months look to be just as busy. Here is a brief overview of what we might expect in 2019…
Paid social networks gain in popularity
As we found out in 2018, if you’re not paying for a social network with your wallet, you are paying for the social network with your personal data and information. So that could lead to the rise of paid social networks, in which you must ante up some cash in order to participate in the “premium” parts of a social network. The most obvious candidate would be paid Facebook Group memberships.
Group chat becomes the social network of choice
One big trend that has been simmering for a while now is group chat as a social network all to itself. WhatsApp, Slack and Facebook Messenger have all changed the way we communicate with each other, and one name that started to go mainstream in 2018 was Discord.
Instagram loses its influencer cachet
Over the past year, Instagram has been blamed for everything from teenage depression to unscrupulous marketing practices involving social media influencers. Plus, to top it all off, the company’s two co-founders walked away from the company in 2018. So next year could be the year that social media influencers also walk away, preferably to a new platform that gives them a lot more chances to make money by promoting products they like.
Twitter bumbles its way through yet another year
If there’s one social network that perennially teases us with the promise that it has “finally figured things out,” it’s Twitter. Every year, it seems like Twitter is going to transform into something new and exciting – and then just ends up giving us a few incremental changes that don’t really change anything. (Look, more than 140 characters!) Look for more UI changes from Twitter in the coming year, such as changes to the news feed.
We hear more than we want to hear about privacy and personal data
The big California consumer privacy act known as CCPA is coming in 2020, and the sharp money is now betting on a massive new federal privacy law to be approved between now and then. Tech giants are warning that the California law will be too restrictive, and are now pushing for a kinder, gentler federal act.
A new social network comes into our lives
And, finally, here’s a prediction that is certain to bring joy to digital marketers everywhere: a new social network will appear “out of nowhere” and skyrocket to fame in 2019. Maybe it’s a social network to replace Google Plus, which recently met an untimely demise, or a new content platform to replace Tumblr, which recently made headlines by banning NSFW content. Or maybe it’s the rise of a new social network like TikTok, the social video app that started to generate buzz and momentum in the last few months of the year. Even Fortnite has been mentioned as a new type of gaming platform-meets-social network hybrid. Facebook is perhaps as vulnerable as it has ever been, so is this going to be the year that another social network finally unseats Facebook?
One thing is certain – social media is going to change in exciting new ways in the year ahead. Social media marketers and small business owners need to have their ear to the ground, in order to understand what’s coming next.