The Future of Social Media: Responsive Media

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By Jacob Maslow

The interesting thing about social media is that it grew up in an era of static devices. We are, of course, talking about desktop or laptop computers. These devices are not mobile. They don’t interact with the external environment. Not surprisingly, a lot of Facebook’s and Twitter’s critics are saying that these technology platforms are really outdated. This explains partly why Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has been spending billions of dollars to acquire mobile app companies, to stay relevant in the age of mobile social media.

However, much of that debate is focused primarily on the hardware positioning of the user. I believe a key part of the debate is left out or overlooked. The more crucial component of the debate should focus on the nature of media content being shared. Regardless of whether you are consuming social media using mobile devices like tablets and cellphones, or desktops and laptops, the problem persists. What is the problem?

Static one-way media. That is right. You look at media, you consume it, you post a comment, and you are done. The extent of any kind of interaction with the media is restricted to a tweet or a comment. That is not enough engagement. In all cases, consumers are given media on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Somebody created the media, and you either accept it or reject it.

Data-Driven Media

For all the hype regarding big data, I believe a key area of innovation is still being overlooked. Data is a two-way street. You create data when you consume information. You can also take that data and create content. This is the part of the equation that isn’t being explored enough by social media companies.

There is a tremendous opportunity here. Social media content consumers the world over engage media, but don’t feel compelled to act on commercial messaging. This is because they feel alienated at some level or another.

This is a tremendous moneymaking opportunity for the right company. Using data-driven media, social networks that are under a lot shareholder pressure to show sustainable and increasing profits, like Twitter and Facebook, should pay attention. They should look at developing their content presentation platforms. They should do this in such a way that users play a direct role in crafting their media experiences, as well as directing the commercialization of those experiences. This can go a long way in a seamless fusion of media, advertising, and content consumption platforms.

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