Part 3: The Future of Social Media is Getting Better at Understanding Social Behavior

This post is the second in the Future of Social Media series. We invited leaders from top news organizations, publishers, brands, and agencies to share their perspective on social today and their forward-looking strategies for the evolving landscape.

The Future of Social Media is Getting Better at Understanding Social Behavior

Guest post by Johannes Neuer @johannesneuer
Acting Director of Engagement of The New York Public Library @NYPL

For the past fours years, I’ve helped The New York Public Library become the world’s largest library on social media. Dozens of individuals from NYPL worked together to curate and publish content that engaged our followers and helped us accomplish this goal.

During this tremendous journey, I’ve increased the Library’s presence in social media, added new networks to our portfolio, and brought on collaborators—all while my own personal social media activities waned.

I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I rarely post anything to Facebook anymore. Is it because I’m bored, antisocial, or is there something else going on?

After an initial phase of excitement about getting back in touch with old friends, sharing news about a move to New York City, a new apartment, and great job at the Library, I’m now content to scan updates from my friends, liking the occasional post, and clicking on interesting articles.

I have become a mature, but mostly passive Facebook user.

As a marketer, I wonder whether my experience (and those similar to me) will have an impact on the future of social media?

Here are a few thoughts:

    • I believe that mature social marketing and measurement will focus on impressions and less on engagement, as impressions can be easily compared across channels to determine Return on Investment (ROI) and equivalency ROI.
    • Brands will invest more in advertising on social media to generate impressions, which will help brands maximize sharing from users, which in turn will increase the number of impressions.
    • Networks will update their algorithms to account for passive members—those who watch, read, or listen and occasionally participate—so that brands can continue to publish content for these users and provide a rewarding experience.
    • Content is becoming increasingly visual on social media—so much so that soon there will be tools that analyze images that return the most impressions or interactions.
    • Most importantly, social networks will become better at understanding social behavior so they can better mimic how humans actually relate to each other. They will consider where we are in our lifecycle with the social network, how we prefer to communicate, and how we share meaningful experiences.
    • Newer social networks that improve on understanding these relationships and embrace local and niche communities will eventually supplant mainstream networks—which, like network television, will probably adapt to a more fragmented social media landscape.

As for me, I’ve realized it’s not that I’m tired of using social media—I just want to participate in the way that feels right to me. See you on Facebook!

Johannes Neuer

Acting Director of Engagement
The New York Public Library


Join us for a FREE panel discussion as we talk about the future of social media with Jun Harada and others from top news organizations, publishers, brands and agencies.

Panel Discussion
Co-hosted by SocialFlow and The New York Public Library

Thursday, November 21, 2013
6:00pm to 7:30pm

The New York Public Library
Science, Industry and Business Library
188 Madison Ave. (at 34th St)
New York, NY 10016

Limited Seating Available — FREE RSVP Today