Monday, March 26, 2012

Post-PC Social Media Era

The coming of the Post-PC era has been long heralded. A little company called Oracle said the PC is dead, and every business desktop would be a slim / dumb / terminal connected to big iron.

Well, as we know that did not happen... 

Recently,  the new iPad came out and many considered the original iPad the beginning of this Post-PC era. And is some ways it was. But in my humble opinion, really it started with the smartphone. Now whether you want to use the Newton, or Palm, or Blackberry, or WindowCE based devices as starting points you may. Others might say it was the iPhone that truly “Did it”. But I would say those very smart devices that had a powerful CPU, had powerful multi-tasking OS’s, and had 3rd party application communities supporting them were very much the beginning of the Post-PC era. 

One could argue though, that each device was tied still to a digital hub or PC. Yes you could make calls, but each smart phone or smart device generally had a PC dashboard to help you update, organize, and sync your content to the device and with your PC. And that ultimately, these were advanced data organizers, reference manuals, and pocket game players.

But this week three things happened... One Adobe released Photoshop Touch for the Tablet (Android & iOS), Apple released a new Tablet, and Instagram is about to be valued at 1/2 billion dollars

The first two seem related, but what does the third have to do with anything? You can not have the third without the other two. Or rather the technology, infrastructure, the adoption rate, and the ubiquitousness of the other two, the third can not create a value of 500 million dollars. 

Instagram is now a 27 million member social network. Their is no web interface. Repeat, if you visit there is nothing there but a request to download the iPhone app. Now of course, the pages or pictures you share are posted into an HTML shell. And the links you share outside of the app can be viewed by any web browser, PC or otherwise.. 

But there is no URL, there is no web based navigation ala the new social media darling “Pinterest”. It is solely an “App driven Social Network”... 

The technology today exists on this multi-core low energy ARM processors to do amazing graphics. From Tilt-Shifts, to Missile firing overlays, to complete layering and editing of photos and videos. You simply do not need a PC... The PC’s raison d'ĂȘtre was desktop publishing of graphic intensive media or graphic rich interactivity in gaming. And now the PC’s power to fight off the Net-PC of Oracle will be replaced with the slim touch based, and cloud connected smart device. 

But where does that leave Social Media? Well, Facebook is still a PC friendly social layer, though higher and higher percentages of FB users connect solely through smart devices. Twitter? It may have started as a web service, but its platform was solely designed for quick mobile blurts. Youtube? Hmm, let me test out that 4G LTE iPad, with iMovie and I will get back to you... But their embrace of non-flash wrappers was another shot at the PC’s strength. 

So, while the Post-PC era started years ago and we are just entering its second act, the Post-PC Social Media era has just started so what are some rising forces to be aware of?

#12 Post-PC Social Media Things to Take Note:
1) The creation of rich social media messages will no longer require a desktop
  1. Mobile is the Message, small quick, intimate, and instant characteristics will rule
  2. Social will be more and more GEO, as GPS continues to push social forward
  3. Social Media Communities will live and die on their API
  4. Social Media Manager Toolset will have to have Street Team Experience
  5. Augmented Reality or Ghosting will be mainstream Social as data smog increase
  6. New Query Tools to analyze Locale vs. National in social media analysis
  7. Hangouts will become mob-outs as Trending Stats will be mainstream
  8. Media Communication skills will change how we communicate
  9. The powerpoint will finally see the end of bullet points ruling the day
  10. App Markets with include Semantic Rankings
  11. Smart Device + Television, Shazam to the Rescue
Sure not all of the above “12” will come to fruition. Just to elaborate on some of the few that seem more peculiar or far-out. 

“Ghosting” we are already seeing in mobile social networks, businesses or localities that don’t exist. People in Foursquare create “virtual spaces” to call there own. And these “Virtual Spaces” have comments about their activities even though they only exist in Foursquare.  So as more people post not just comments, but also photos, videos, and other media artifacts the data smog it leaves will become more and more interesting and more valuable to business... 

Hang-outs become mob-outs. We are already seeing this happen with such recent events in Hollywood, where a DJ tweeted for others to “Come on down” to the Chinese Theater.. Using Twitter was rudimentary, the next generation of tools are already being developed to send and amass people to places through mobile networks. 

The death of cursive writing skills will only decline until Edwardian Script ITC  is lost forever... The skills to create meaningful multi-media messages will only increase. This means that the bullet points on your powerpoint are getting duller every minute. And classes in iPhoneography will increase.  

As we continue to move to App Eco Systems, inter-operability and ranking will continue to gain in critical ways. Already we see “Zombie App Armies” trying to tweak rank. But we are only on the cusp, where just as in Google Adwords we pay to own “Local Mexican Restaurant” , the day when App vendors bid on key categories... Yelp app against Urbanspoon app for the same from Siri, is just waiting around the corner... And Social Media has always been tied to SEO, Ranking, and Awareness.

Already we see that the PC died before it could get a hold in the living room. It tried with the Home Media PC, and other iterations. But now you can grab TV, vote TV, and stream back and forth to the TV with devices that do not run windows, have no intel based chips, and do not have keyboards or mice. 

In conclusion, the job of the social media director or manager is going to get more dynamic and of course more mobile, no surprise there. Understanding the API’s of each mobile friendly web service will be key... The Facebook post will be less words and more pictures, as most recommend. Social Networks will slowly be more tied to the mobile experience of location and aggregating groups around types of social events and social behaviors that don’t tie you to a desktop... Think more Red Bull type of live events and less just “Like us” click work.

The building of communities that truly marry online with mobile to utilize these new smart devices, will have an edge. Social Networks like instagram will either expand their API to reach more people on more devices as they have promised. Or other players will help you organize, share, and create diminishing any first mover adoption advantage...