Makeovers Are One Thing: Transformations Are Another
This past year there were a number of changes to the social media landscape, including the creation of Google+. These changes to our existing social media services have all been meant to improve functionality, increase useability, and attract new users, and more less, they all have worked.
What the world seems to be waiting for, what we have all grown so accustomed to in the ever changing tech-world, is a true transformation. A disruptive technology that truly changes everything we thing we already know about how we can interact with one another via social media.
I say, what’s the hurry? It seems to me we have hardly scratched the surface when it comes to the true potential of the services we have right now, why do we need to find something brand new to change everything? We don’t even know what “everything” is right now. Not even the most social media savvy people have mastered all the various social media services that exist. We are still unable to provide effective social media analytics that tell us whether social media marketing efforts are worth their time (I truly believe they are) and whether or not there is any value in a “Like”, a Follower or a +1 (I believe there is) and what that value is (That I cannot truly answer.)
When an existing social media site decides to change their look, gives themselves a true makeover, I don’t expect it to do much more than appease people who have grown tired of seeing the same old thing. It might attract a few new users, or keep some existing users from getting bored, but probably won’t do much more than that.
I could sit here and tell you what I believe the impact of Google+, Facebook and Twitter will be in 2012, but that probably wouldn’t help you very much. The fact is you need to discover their strengths and weaknesses for yourself so you can better inform your customers or clients as someone who truly understands the nature of the tools they are using, and is not simply repeating what they read somewhere.
As for a transformative social media network? I think we have enough to worry about for the moment, without adding a truly disruptive technology to the mix. Of course, I don’t make these tools folks, I just use them.
Three of the major social media sites introduced or rolled out makeovers of their platform this month. Facebook has made its “Timeline” feature available to everyone (on personal pages), Twitter has released a new design, and YouTube has started “channels” on its site. It’s the start of a lot more changes like to come in 2012.
Facebook presented their new design in October, and then quietly tested it in New Zealand last month. They’ve now opened it up for everyone on personal pages. The new look takes photos to another level, with a full-width photo across the top of the page and a smaller profile picture. When the new design is offered to businesses, it means you’ll need better photography on your page — at least for the large top photo. No more using grainy cell phone photos.
The design also places your photos in chronological order, which on personal pages, essentially means you’re providing your life story in photos. You want to think about that before you post it. Facebook allows you to try out the Timeline feature for seven days (it is free), but once you convert, that’s it. You can edit the photos in the Timeline, and if you’re in the job market or have “friended” people from work, you should definitely go through all the photos in your timeline before releasing it.