What Is the Future of Social Media? Plus How It Will Affect You


Social media is now a part of almost everyone’s lives. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tik Tok, we’re surrounded by such apps that let us connect with each other.

But social media outlets are now taking on new functions: shopping, reading the news, gaming; they’re becoming a lot more than purely social.

So, what is the future of social media, and how will it affect you and your experience?

e-commerce laptop graphic

You’ve probably noticed the marketplace sections available on both Facebook and Instagram. The apps are increasingly trying to integrate e-commerce into their user experience and AR-based shopping is a future possibility for these online spaces.

Augmented reality, or AR, involves overlaying virtual objects into real-time video or pictures. This is usually done with a smartphone or AR headset—with social media apps usually relying on the user’s smartphone camera. Such technology certainly has a promising future in the online shopping field.

Snapchat acquired a fashion recommendation app called Screenshop in April 2021, with an intention to shift into the e-commerce industry. And the app has already been dipping its toes in AR-based shopping experiences, with its try-on collaboration with fashion giant Gucci in 2020.

The company’s own CEO has stated his interest in AR-fuelled e-commerce, so we may be seeing some interesting new features added to the app in the near future.

Read more: Social Shopping: What Is It and How Is It Changing Social Media?

Along with AR-based e-commerce will surely come more marketplace integration in general. With the rise of shopping sections on an array of popular social media apps, the combination of social and retail is expected to become more commonplace over the next few years.

Some people make their living by selling products on such apps as Instagram and Facebook, and it’s easy to see why with their budding and diverse marketplaces.

2. VR Communication

man using VR headset

You’ve probably heard of VR or virtual reality. This technology involves immersing an individual in a virtual world using a headset. It can work amazingly well and could become a common social media feature in the near future.

Of course, we can already communicate in a number of ways via social media. Text, voice call, video call, there’s no shortage of ways to keep in touch with friends and family. But imagine you could feel like you were right there, in the room with them? VR technology could make this a reality.

Though VR communication has been around for a while, it’s yet to become mainstream. But this could soon change. One of the world’s biggest social media companies, Meta (formerly Facebook), has been looking into developing a VR space within its network for some time now.

Related: The Facebook Metaverse, Explained (And Why You Should Care)

In fact, the company’s rebrand was partly to better align with its visions for a VR metaverse. The company has its own VR platform called Horizon Worlds, which is intended to bring people together and create more of a sense of community online.

The platform is now in beta and is invite-only. However, if successful, it could become a popular feature among users. The fact that Meta owns Oculus, a well-known VR headset manufacturer, such devices could be integrated into the venture at some point.

3. A Continued Focus on Younger Audiences

kids sitting down using smartphones

This particular social media trend is pretty controversial, given the evident vulnerability of children to the dangers of the online space. Recently, Instagram announced that they were developing a child-friendly version of their popular social media app, fittingly called Instagram Kids.

This platform was intended to be ad-free, so as to not influence children to buy certain products.

However, people did not receive this announcement very well. It has been speculated that this platform could become a hub of predatory behavior and cyberbullying. In fact, concerns grew to the point where the American government wrote to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and asked him to abandon the project. Since then, the company has announced that it has paused development of the Instagram app for kids.

But this probably won’t spell the end for child-focused social media content and features. Platforms like YouTube already have a huge section dedicated to children, with content that sometimes does contain advertisements.

So, without legal intervention, we could certainly be seeing outlets that focus on younger audiences in the future.

4. Even More Ads

advertisements on street

Surely social media apps couldn’t possibly fit any more ads into their interfaces? Well, you’d be surprised at how nifty these companies can be at popping an ad here and there.

With the rising popularity of social media, it’s only natural for more and more companies to offer top dollar for an ad spot that millions will see. If anything, social media offers a more profitable advertising platform than print and television could ever dream of offering.

So, expect to see ads in even more areas on your favorite social media platforms over the coming months and years. While this is sometimes useful for discovering new products, it’s also many users’ least favorite aspect of social media.

5. More Advanced Algorithms

instagram feed on smartphone

Ever felt like your social media app just knows what kind of content you like looking at? Well, it does. Social media outlets have algorithms that track your specific activity: your searches, engagement, frequently viewed pages, dwell time, and more. This allows the algorithm to offer similar content to keep you interested.

Related: What Happens to Your Instagram Account When You Die?

In a nutshell, these algorithms ensure that you stay engaged with the content you’re shown. And, with social media companies looking to increase user activity whenever possible, there’s a constant bid to improve these algorithms so that they can more closely monitor your activity and deduce which content you want to keep seeing.

This may lead to social media apps becoming more difficult to log out of as they find ways to tap into your attention more effectively.

6. VR and AR Gaming

man using VR headset

You may have already tried VR and AR games in the past. They’re essentially a more immersive version of traditional gaming experiences, and you may be seeing them on some popular social media sites some point soon.

In the coming years, these sites could offer VR multiplayer games that you can play with your friends and family. These could range from simple, traditional games like scrabble or charades, to bar games like pool and more fast-paced combat games.

t’s not really known whether these will be free or not yet, but they could become hugely popular ways to keep in touch with those you love while also having a little fun at the same time.

Social Media Is More Than Just Posts and Messaging Now

Ten years ago, we probably would have never imagined what social media would become.

Shopping, gaming, live streaming, there are so many different things that you can do from an app that was once just about texting a friend or uploading a daily status.

So, who knows where social media will go next? It’s both daunting and exciting to think about, and we’ll be here to tell you all about what comes next!


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