Social media has changed the world - and our personal lives.
Social media dominates our digital space - it keeps us busy by passively exposing us to curated and personalized streams of content - on demand, at any time.
Social media has redefined how we act, interact, what we share (and consume) and how freely. We have conversations with friends, strangers, “people we know on the internet”, in public. We follow people we’ve never met, who we’re curious about, our peers, and people who share our views and opinions. We explore their lives, listen to their advice, and absorb the content they share - on everything and anything. This content can be intensely personal or not, general or incredibly specific.
We also ignore all the people who don’t fit into our interests, getting rid of all the noise generated by the things we identify as irrelevant.
Social media is addictive too: Facebook, Google, and Pinterest, have defined immersive product experiences able to keep us engaged forever - combining the fear of missing out on the latest and greatest updates, with the serotonin boost of a notification when we look at our mobile devices. And for the young, millennials, this is the norm - and the digital natives of Generation Z have never known anything different.
A supercomputer in your pocket
Back in the late ‘40s, the electronic television was introduced. Consuming entertainment at home meant turning on the TV or radio, and gathering round. Shows were scheduled, so you had to be there at the right time, and the rest of the time the audience had to find other ways to fight boredom.
Now, we do everything online, on-demand, and more and more things on mobile. We socialize, play games, shop for luxuries and necessities, spend time with friends and family, all through the supercomputers we carry in our pockets.
People still say that buying on desktop is more convenient, compared with mobile. (But then, buying in store was still more convenient in the early days of the internet.) This will change - fast.
Mobile facilitates the way we access things we want and love, and modern software interactions are so quick that our standard and expectations skyrocket - we want what we want, and we want it now.
The world revolves around me
Inspiration has re-defined the shopping experience.
We buy things to look good, to feel good. Products don’t have lives, or personality, but context - seeing them through the lens of the people we follow and aspire to be like on social media - gives them depth, and immediacy, and makes us want them all the more.
We can travel to the four corners of the earth using our Instagram feeds, dreaming about wild adventures. Inspiration is everywhere, and giants are investing in bringing it to shopping on mobile.
There’s tremendous progress happening in tech; machine learning technologies, augmented reality and virtual reality are quietly becoming part of life. And life keeps changing.
But in the here and now, brands need to learn the lessons of social media - and apply them.