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The Future of Social Media: Trends and Predictions for the Next Decade

Kathleen Hall

Kathleen Hall

7 May 2024

The Future of Social Media: Trends and Predictions for the Next Decade - Voquent

Social media’s advent marked a fundamental change in what people want from the internet and how they expect to engage with it.

Now, we’re standing at the precipice of a new era that will likely have an even more disruptive impact on the future of social media.

How will emerging technologies impact social media use in the next decade? What shifts will social media platforms, marketers, and ordinary users experience? No one has the exact answers, but here are some educated predictions to mull over.


AI’s Future Dominance…

One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see how AI will fundamentally alter social media for everyone involved. Platforms will use it to leverage profile and behavioural data to the point where they can accurately predict which type of content will bring the most engagement. Buyer personas and market segmentation will give way to bespoke recommendations fueled by data most users will share with consent. Consent is the keyword there. While, these days, the way the web is structured means that you’re constantly handing over data without necessarily realising it – and responsible for removing your information from the internet as a result – the future of the web is intended to be a lot more user-centric, leaving ownership with you rather than the sites you visit.

Marketers leverage GenAI to broaden their reach and will keep discovering new use cases. It’s already easy to create unique graphics for each post. Some companies rely on GenAI to quickly generate lower-quality subtitles or dubbing to localise videos. Coupled with support from the platforms themselves, social media advertisements will address us directly by name and through copy, media, and engagement techniques created on the spot for each of us.

Increasing dissatisfaction with search engine results will prompt more users to use GenAI and social media’s search functions to discover content and connections. The corresponding organic search falloff will urge companies to redouble their social media marketing efforts.


And the Backlash

GenAI isn’t without detractors. They bring up legitimate concerns, copyright issues, and the ease of manufacturing disinformation, which is the chief among them. Social media is already bursting with AI-generated content that users are increasingly recognising and getting tired of.

While GenAI will become normalised and accepted by most, a subset of the user base will reject its advancements and advances. This will create opportunities for brands to stand out by building their identity without AI involvement.

Some platforms like YouTube are currently adding AI tags to content so users know when the video they’re watching has been created synthetically.


The Rise of New Platforms

As traditional social media platforms become saturated, the need for smaller, innovative alternatives will increase.

Man inside the frame of an Instagram post

One likely outcome is the appearance and proliferation of platforms that foster smaller niche communities. Research suggests that a sizeable part of the population prefers smaller, more closely-knit communities over the mass appeal of today’s dominant socials. Companies that capitalise on that trend won’t rival the big players’ reach. Still, they’ll be in a good position to attract loyal users.

Another trend has to do with increased privacy awareness. People are paying more attention to what they share online and how companies handle their data. This will prompt some of them to seek open-source alternatives that give their users more control over privacy and data ownership.


Driving Engagement with VR and AR

Virtual reality is another technology that will reshape people’s social media interactions. Price-cutting efforts suggest VR will become available to almost everyone relatively soon. The potential is endless, from new and immersive ways of meeting with friends to creating unique and seamless brand interactions and shopping experiences.

The entry barrier for augmented reality is even lower. Successful applications include trying clothing on or imagining what your living room will look like with new furniture. Unique marketing campaigns, tailor-made training opportunities, and seamless real-world integration will only become more common.


Cyber Threats Aren’t Going Anywhere

Scams and cybercrooks have been present on social media since its inception. However, mainstream AI adoption caused an unprecedented surge in the quantity and quality of attacks. After all, it’s far easier to fall for a phishing attempt when the message has perfect grammar and the sender’s profile looks legitimate.

Private and commercial social media users must exercise vigilance while using a mix of proven and emerging cybersecurity tools to keep their privacy and accounts safe.

Password managers, combined with multi-factor authentication, will continue to provide comprehensive account protection for the foreseeable future of social media. They use encryption to prevent stored passwords from being compromised.

Moreover, password managers make generating one-of-a-kind passwords brute force ineffective against easy. Quantum computing might see commercial application in the 2030s, by which time cybersecurity companies should have solutions to the challenges this brings for modern cryptography.

Of course, cybersecurity experts will increasingly rely on AI to combat threats and authenticate users. For example, behavioural biometrics uses machine learning to identify who uses an account based on their typing or scrolling patterns. Hopefully, fighting fire with fire will prove effective in uncovering and stopping the increasingly complex cyberattacks social media and the internet, in general, are in store for.


The Future of Social Media: Conclusion

Social media is in for interesting times. AI alone would have transformed it in unforeseen ways. However, the convergence of multiple paradigm-shifting technologies is poised to have an even wider-reaching impact.

The immediate horizon promises GenAI proliferation and further blurring of the line that separates truth from increasingly believable fiction. What should we expect further down the line? Not even AI’s increasingly sophisticated prediction algorithms are clear on that one.


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Kathleen Hall

By Kathleen Hall

Kathleen Hall is a seasoned content creator specialising in tech and social media. With a passion for social-related Content, Kathleen crafts engaging narratives that inform, entertain, and inspire. With a finger on the pulse of technology, Kathleen delivers fresh perspectives and valuable insights to the tech audience, driving meaningful conversations and connections.

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