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What Is The Future of Social Media?

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In July 2012, the US spent 121 BILLION minutes on social media – should we be worried? Do social networks threaten our “real world” interactions? In this episode of Fw:Thinking, Jonathan Strickland explores the future of social communication, social relationships, and human/computer interaction.

What do you think? Have social networks left you feeling more “connected” to your friends and family? Let us know by leaving a comment!

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[TRANSCRIPT]:
If you have 900 friends that you talk to 140 characters at a time, what does the word “friend” really mean?

In July 2012, US users spent 121 BILLION minutes on social media. Now let me break that down for you. In one month, that’s 231,000 YEARS worth of Bieber retweets, and Instagrams of what you had for lunch.

Now some people worry that this might be a bad thing. That we could actually be rewiring our children’s brains so that Generation Z no longer has anyway of knowing how to interact in the “real” world. And they might even lose the ability to use sarcasm.

Pfft. Yeah right.

If social media is not a real interaction, what is? Is talking on the phone a real social interaction? Or is writing a letter with a quill pen a real social interaction? These are ways we have breached both space and time in order to communicate. So isn’t social media just the next step?

I’d go so far as to say we shouldn’t even call it social media anymore. This is next generation social life.

Imagine you walk into a museum with your smart glasses. Now around you everyone’s looking at famous works of art or naked sculptures. But you flip on the social filter on your glasses, and suddenly reality itself is annotated just like in your Facebook feed. You can see what people have to say about every work of art.

Or you go next door to the restaurant and you take a look at the menu. There you can see what people in your network have liked.

Now, just a couple of generations ago, once you graduated high school, you could expect to encounter those people and interact with them about as frequently as you would play tennis with a plutonium core. But today because of Twitter and Facebook I can’t go a day without knowing that my old chem lab partner had yet another breakfast burrito.

Seriously Victor, you have a problem.

Could this be redefining the meaning of friendship? Anthropologists like Robin Dunbar believe that there are a finite number of real friendships any human being can keep. So your brain can maintain about 150 meaningful friendships, and that’s it. So has social media blown this number into the stratosphere? Well, not yet. The average person on Facebook has about 190 friends. And the average person on Twitter interacts with between 100 and 200 people. So we haven’t drastically altered the social landscape yet. But will we in the future?

Social media changes through the emergence of behavior of literally billions of people from around the world all behaving under local rules, creating unpredictable mass patterns. So it’s dictated by your niece who corrects everyone’s grammar, or that coworker who absolutely insists on sharing every single photo of a cat in a cardboard box ever.

But it’s not all frivolous. We have actually used social media for real social change. I mean who would have thought the same thing that lets me tell you what I had for lunch helped topple a dictator? Or organize a protest? Or solve a crime?

So what if all of our social interactions are limited to 140 characters? I think we’ll still be able to keep that social herd all together. Even if that herd does include a few LOLcats.

Comments

Max Damage says:

I hope the future of social media is to make it illegal.

JaazBandJaaz says:

Social media is what gave me my sarcasm

Henry Meléndez says:

I love your sarcasm bra h ah ah

Cliff Gez says:

You’re so annoying

Shadow Ling says:

Yo if you think this is glut

you're bad at math.

CaptaiոSparkleᴢ says:

That is a lot of friends. I have 20.

胡李 says:

Who will still use Facebook in 2020s?

zander gotkickedoffearth says:

fw thinking u use YouTube which is a form of social media and most youtubers talk to there subs on instgram and twitter and those numbers reach the millions and most youtubers c there subscribers as friends

emily lake says:

400 LIKER WHOOP WHOOP

emily lake says:

NO NOT SARCASM I WILL MAKE SURE EVERYONE KNOWS ABOUT IT

TalkWits.com says:

Hey, we're creating a futuristic, next-generation social media site: http://igg.me/at/TalkWits 

The focus is on high-quality content and 'emotionally intelligent' search features. Check it out and support if you get a chance. Appreciated.

Weeaboo Jones says:

but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen but still here i am after watching this video , sitting here and just writing a ''comment'' by pressing buttons, instead of interacting with my family or friends i just sit here…pressing buttons and looking at a screen hours upon hours knowing exactly what buttons to press to make a sentence in my screen.

Now give me a like.

luina78 says:

i have only 5 or 6 meaningful friendships and it is enough to me, who need a hundred ?

Chris East says:

Allot of people have way more "friends" on these networks then they can comprehend, I'm not sure it's healthy to have so much white noise of people we don't know, but I'm glad that the average of people we have interactions with are not mind melting.

I'm nothing more then white noise to any of you though, but often I get to have a bit of knowledgeable sparing with people who think and sometimes I get to learn from both these videos and you people who talk about them 

Yay internet

VelvetGal5 says:

Nice, interesting video and commentary. Thanks for sharing.

Jean Gabeler says:

People don't want to be alone but are afraid of intimacy. Social media offer control, we can alter, edit and delete our messages. They don't learn us to have a conversation that takes place in real time. We get the feeling we are not alone but do not truely get to know eachother. And in real life where we tend to use our smart devices & social media to control our attention and avoid further intimacy.

Donald Mersel says:

Thanks to all my new friends. Before we had the printing press, what was friendship like? Then we experienced telephones, radios, and televisions. We expanded our social clan. The computer has changed who we interact with. We are living in interesting times. Don

Harry Wells says:

The best website to get loads of Twitter followers, is for sure http:\twitterpopular.com 

Harry Wells says:

check this great social-media site.. helps me to get loads of followers/likes etc. http:\social-legend.net

Joe Budd says:

Creepy video. Rod, you're pretty crazy.

Malvix says:

Hey guys, its a pretty intresting thing what youre talking about. The google glasses are close to the glasses youre talking about.
Great video, keep make some kind of videos.

Arno Nym says:

Its interesting to think about new futures who can improve the social media! I personally have the feeling to be connected when I use social media. I like that video!

Yalda Amir Sayfadini says:

Interesting ideas about the future of social media! Especially the part with the museum.

golybaja_krowb says:

Interesting video.  I think social media does leave me a feeling of being more connected to friends and my family in some way, because you can chat with these people if you do not see them at the moment. On the other hand, if you chat with friends or your family, I do not think that you would feel more connected, beause you see most friends and your family of course,too in real life and you communicate enough with them in real life. But maybe social media leaves you a feeling of being more connected with a friend when you do not meet him or her in real life anymore and you still can communicate with him or her, for example if a friend was in the same class than you, but studies now in another town.

Lladerat says:

Thanks to facebook, people of Ukraine were able to unite against dictator yanukovich and threw him off back to where he belongs – Russia. Serously, it was started by just a single post on facebook… 

Daniel Vondráček says:

WATCHING EACH OTHER

Aeveras says:

While I would agree that social media is still a form of social interaction I would argue strongly that is oftentimes a hollow and meaningless one.  When I see a family at a dinner table at a local restaurant all hunched over their phones are they really interacting?  Sure, maybe they're talking with their 1,500 followers on twitter, but in doing so they're completely missing out on a chance to really connect with the people right in front of them.
Think about it.  If I get in a bad traffic accident who is going to come visit me at me at the hospital?  Certainly not any of my twitter followers, although I'm sure a handful of them would take all of 5 seconds to tweet at me "hope you feel better soon!" The ones that would come visit would be my family and the friends who I spend time with.
Social media should augment real life interactions, not replace them.  So much of communication is lost when text is your only medium.

lucy login says:

wow!! u rock jonathan..!! thats a super cool idea.. i like ur videos..

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