According to Justin Kistner, who is a ”social evengalist” at Webtrends, a web analytics company, the social media era is set to peak in 2012.
He says that social media is the third era of the web — the first two being new media and then Web 2.0.
Of course, if Justin is right (and you can read his report at http://socialfresh.com/social-media-is-the-3rd-era-of-the-web). Justin’s study is based on media observation, and he came to his conclusion based on the world wide search volume on Google.
He also notes that the decline of Web 2.0, and in turn, the growth of social media is inter-connected.
”Since Facebook has hit the scene, the original social media tools have peaked in usage: blogs, wikis, forums and RSS,” he writes in the post.
Some people dismiss social media as a fad. The truth is, social media may be a fad in that it is only a buzz word. What social media and its tools can and will do, however, is not going to go away so easily.
The original new media paved the way for Web 2.0. Back then, ”interactivity” was the buzz word. Web 2.0 allowed for the web to be more interactive. This ability evolved into something far greater — social networking.
Where social networking takes us, is a different matter. I am confident that the next era might be call something else, but it will remain extremely social.
A survey by Pew Internet and American Life Project found that most experts in technology believe that social media is more than just a fad.
Social media belongs to Generation Y — today’s Millennial generation of youths — and experts believe that they will be using social media right into their adulthood and even after they have children.
Sixty seven percent of the respondents agreed to the following statement in the survey, which was part of the Pew’s Future of the Internet study
”By 2020, members of Generation Y (today’s ‘digital natives’) will continue to be ambient broadcasters who disclose a great deal of personal information in order to stay connected and take advantage of social, economic, and political opportunities. Even as they mature, have families, and take on more significant responsibilities, their enthusiasm for widespread information sharing will carry forward.”
What is interesting, however, will be to see what form and shape these tools of connectivity will come in.
Geographical based applications — or tagging via existing tools like Twitter for example — like Foursquare or Gowalla is already leaving many other social media tools behind.
The fact is, social media can only get bigger. As the Internet becomes more democratic and country-restrictions become more open, you can expect to see an explosion in the way technology is created, innovated and used.
Just imagine a time when a country like, for example, China lifts its ban on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Granted, they have their own sets of tools which are notably bigger (considering their polulation size), but imagine a world where social networking is no longer bound by geographical barriers.
I’m not sure what it will be called then, but I’m sure it will be amazing.