One of the discussions that Marketing Maverick Caroline Melberg of the Social Media Incubator™ has with clients on a regular basis is whether or not social media is just a fad or a trend that will fade away over time. To answer this, we need to define what social media really is.
Social media includes sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – but it’s actually much bigger than any of those sites. Social media refers the ability we all have to interact on the web, and it began with Web 2.0. The web most of us started using was Web 1.0; we could get information but we couldn’t interact much. Web 1.5 gave us shopping and ecommerce, which was a major step. However, it still was probably not as big as Web 2.0, which gave us the ability to interact and connect. So while any one of the individual social media sites may fade away over time, the concept of social media and the “connectedness” will not. It allows all of us to have the “community” aspect of social media and is more than just a trend – it’s a radical shift in the way relationships grow. It also has had a dramatic impact on business and will continue to do so in the future.
Yes, the way we use social media will continue to evolve. What’s the next major site? We’ll just have to wait and see. As for the idea of social media as a community – it’s here to stay.