Sure it’s too early to know how the advent of “Social Media” will revolutionize the internet landscape but it will *certainly* revolutionize the online experience dramatically. It’s been slowly happening for some time – perhaps 2 years or so – but I think we’re now at something of a tipping point where we’ll see widespread mainstream adoption of social media – I predict Twitter will be the big winner in this space though there is plenty of room for Facebook to maintain the huge presence it now has online.
One of the most provocative upcoming items is the Twitter Discovery Engine, which will be Twitter’s attempt to allow users to mine the information from the massive Twitter community. They may not get it right at first but eventually we’ll see that unlike Google search – which is great for static information – Twitter will be able to connect you to a “human expert” about as fast as you can Tweet out a 140 character note or click on their “Follow” button.
This is very important because despite many foolish reports suggesting that Google has “solved” the problem of internet search they have done nothing of the kind. Google’s very good at finding a lot of material about issues that stay the same over the years such as historical events. Yet Google’s regular search generally fails – and miserably – when you are trying to find real time information on current events. Their blog search and news search are better for information that changes regularly or has changed recently, but with a robust Twitter search you’ll soon be able to interact with newsmakers and news events in real time, asking questions and offering your own input.
The internet has always been about people much more than it is about technology. Google is a brilliant company but I’d suggest that Google will be seen in the future as being the *last* of the major internet players to rely primarily on their technological prowess rather than their social architectures. The new game will be the integration of human experience and expertise with the blossoming online information landscape, and this game will dominate until we have very powerful and direct integration of human brains with online information sources – probably in about 10 years. This brain/machine integration has already begun at a rudimentary level with Braingate and mainstream devices like the Emotiv headsets coming soon.
This social media revolution is not just a profound new development in the history of human communication, it is a social evolution of biblical proportions, and the beginning of a redefinition of social interaction that will both enhance and undermine our tribal history of human socializing that goes back tens of thousands of years and tended to favor smaller groups, less democratic social heirarchies, and simpler forms of “friend or foe” interactions. These social mechanisms served our evolutionary needs at the time, but are becoming outmoded as the global population and global interests come together, and fast.
Welcome to the new age new media revolution. It’s going to be neat but be sure to fasten your mental seatbelts because there will be some Twitter turbulence ahead.