2014 was an exciting year for those that have integrated their lives online. Numerous companies have formed, promoting new ways of sharing information while maintaining privacy, while established companies have expanded their operations in attempts to help keep their product (personal data) fresh and usable by their customers.
The stage has been set for developments that are to come, with numerous developments already in sight over the digital horizon.
Payment Systems Will Become Integrated
Social media is already swamped with people sharing their most recent purchases, and collaborations with others on future items. Between food pictures, clothing, and electronics, this plethora of data has had business owners and developers salivating over the prospect of integrating online stores into the end-user experience.
Facebook, the largest of the social media sites, is amongst the first to integrate a shopping system into its mobile code. While inactive, investigators have revealed that the company is indeed working to help users find and purchase products using its service.
This will be presented to the end users as a convenience and identity protection feature, and to investors and clients as a means of maximizing potential returns by identifying and approaching prospective buyers well in advance.
Another Wave of Upstarts
Development of new services usually arises under one or two conditions. The first is public backlash against perceived issues with the current system. With the numerous security and privacy woes Facebook had dealt with this year, it is making its own enemies.
Ello and Yik Yak both promises to not sell user data, and to make security the primary focus of the service. For those concerned with privacy, these services have grown to fill a niche that few would ever have suspected to exist just a year ago.
The second is the ability to offer new features that the current companies are not. By tackling an issue in a different manner, companies may garner new clients and create situations where the older sites become irrelevant.
Examples of this are dedicated interest sites, like Freelanced for freelancers and Fitocracy for those who enjoy physical exercise.
Online Shopping Joins Social Media
The end users are not the clients for major social media sites. Instead, they are the product. Their information is used to secure advertising and hard data to provide insights into the public mind and future trends.
It is only natural that these services would try to expand their offering to their clients, by making it easier for the end-user to create more data and spur sales. Twitter and Facebook are striving to find ways to integrate shopping experiences into their services, while still improving the quality of data presented to their clients.
While similar to integrating a payment system, this refers more to advertising and product awareness. For instance, if Facebook has access to the phone’s GPS, it may recognize when someone enters a client’s store. From there, messages will appear in their feed with anything from coupons to requests to fill out surveys.
Smart Phones Integrate Environmental Data
Social media is only as effective as the data provided to it. By integrating outside sources, it is possible to create data filled entries that take just moments. The goal is to help the end-users provide the sort of data the media companies want, without them realizing it.
The Illusion of Privacy Will Fade
Social media has never been private. Anything in which the end user is, the product is by definition insecure. Thanks to public outcry, people will change their usage habits to accommodate what they wish to actually share.