‘What’s on your mind’? asks Facebook or the casual ‘What’s happening?’ from Twitter.

Social networks have grown fast on the very human need to share our thoughts and tell people what we are doing. Billions of updates buzz around the Internet with everything from what we are eating, to wordy political rants, family photos and our latest triumphs and disasters. The social platforms have constantly innovated allowing us at first just to write a few words, then adding photos and video. Now we can conduct a multi-media onslaught of updates on the world at any time day or night.

Our increasingly powerful smartphones and fast 4G data and high-speed wi-fi mean that we can now post updates on the move. Nowhere and no one is safe from a candid snap, a selfie or an instant comment or reply.

However, there is change in the air.

From Tell to Show

Where we have had the tools to easily tell our friends about our lives in text and through images, a new faster, more direct form of communication is going to take over the social airwaves in the next few years.

Facebook Live, Persicope, Snapchat Stories and livestreaming on YouTube hail the dawn of a new era where we move from tell to show. No longer is there a need to pen a lengthy update on how much fun you are having on holiday. Just click live and broadcast the view from that fabulous villa on the Med instantly. All of the slowly-uploaded videos from epic music shows are going to be replaced by a live snapshot of that hit song sent straight into your friend’s newsfeeds, as it happens.

Celebrities, online news websites, sports teams and some brands are already realising the power of live and broadcasting direct updates on Facebook Live and elsewhere. Increasingly, marketers especially will appreciate that the ability of social media to reach people on a personal level will be greatly enhanced by the direct nature of live broadcasts.

Fans of entertainers, sports teams and popular brands love to see behind the scenes and livestreaming certainly offers that special access and feeling of exclusivity and connection, as well as the opportunity to present an unfiltered message.

VR and Augmented Reality

Pair live with other emerging technologies such as Virtual Reality and imagine the possibilities for creating truly immersive experiences. Rather than tuning into a press conference or product announcement, people will be able to use VR to feel like they are actually there at the event, watching live and interacting with their surroundings and perhaps even with other virtual and actual attendees.

Add a layer of augmented reality and all sorts of enhanced experiences are possible. The convergence of all this powerful communication technology will allow authentic engagement with consumers, fans and friends only limited by the power of our imagination.

Maybe the new social media question will be ‘Show us what you are seeing.’