Where is Social Media heading in 2020?

That’s right, it’s that time of year when we all prophesied about what the future year will hold. We usually look back and back-slap the 2019 forecasts that bore a molecule of resonance and success.

Some will make simple to prove assertions like ‘live video demand will increase’. Yup, sure, it will. As it has done for the past five years. Claims like this are rather obvious and, in my mind, similar to projecting ‘tonight, it will get dark’. There’s an inevitability to the outcome.

Rather than falling into the common trap of stating the obvious, I want to prophesied around harder to prove deployments. Some will recall two-years ago, whilst the rest of industry was lauding Snapchat, we were on BBC News claiming it did too little, too slow, and ultimately wouldn’t achieve its commercial goals. At the time, both the BBC, and many of our colleagues in industry watching, thought we were bonkers. Low and behold… yup, we did slap our own back!

Social Media has exploded in the past decade. Whilst many of us were forecasting continued growth and impact, did any of us truly believe the speed and scale of growth inside 10-years. Possibly not. In recent years, this unprecedented growth has been tainted by trust issues. The obvious go-to example being Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. Our trust was impacted, our cynicism grew, and our focus on data management came to the fore.

It would be easy to proclaim trust is going to be a key theme going forward. Whilst it absolutely is, I want to go further than that. Our inherent cynicism and questioning of all things digital, I believe, will ultimately harm green screen use. Now, if you’re creating the latest cinematic or television epic, if you’re producing the next Game of Thrones, then green screen is here to stay. If you’re a proposition marketing team turning to green screen to promote product or service then I believe you’re wasting valuable time and money. The cynics will be thinking ‘if your propositions are so good, why can’t you show me them in situ? Why are you having to visualise their impact?’

I believe 2020 will be the year when we all must place greater authenticity into our content. Increasingly, the polished speaker or presenter will be challenged on social. I believe there is an opportunity for the less polished and refined speaker to thrive on social. There is an authenticity to content presenting with a slight language or presentation faux pas. We find it more authentic and are drawn to ‘real people’. Clearly, I’m not advocating engineered errors, but breaking away from the fear of making a minor error in video. Embrace it. Keep it real (as some kids once said).

I believe 2020 will be the year that our feeds dramatically change. Do I believe we will see greater utilisation of 3D and even lenticular within social media? Yes, yes, I do. But 3D is a visualisation I hear you say. You’ve just said green screening fosters distrust. And you’re right. By 3D I mean, better and more dramatic real-life drifts around an image. The panoramic view on your iPhone if you will. I believe this will evolve greatly, and by the end of 2020 we’ll be immersed into more impactful 3D imagery and able to tilt our Facebook feed to drift around an image or playing video.

I also believe that by the end of next year celebrity endorsement will be at an all-time low. Replaced by real life people in businesses and communities. The Chief chocolatier of a well-known chocolate company will have greater influence than Mr or Miss ‘The Only Way is I’m a Celebrity Get me Outta here’.

2020, we believe, is the year you have to be truly authentic and genuinely immersive.

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