Social media is such a large market – it really is a business. However, businesses are having a difficult time learning to capitalize on it. Social media is free, a reason why so many people partake in it. I fear the coming era – when businesses learn to profit off of social media.
Currently, some businesses have found a way. For example, selling advertising space on social websites. Other companies use social media for their own purposes whether a marketing tool or customer support. Consumers can now visit blogs hosted by a company, such as Apple, and post questions, tips and hints in regards to products or services. Companies have gone as far as using social media for viral marketing, and making obscure videos or websites just for sheer exposure.
This wave of free love and hippie attitudes will not reign forever. Will they wait until we are so dependent on these social networks and services that we cannot live without them and apply monthly subscriptions? Maybe.
Nothing else in this “free world” is as accessible and technically free. Yes, we do pay an ISP (Internet Service Provider) to have the Internet available in our home, but we do not need to. We can access free Internet in schools and libraries. We are not paying per view. If we choose, we can easily have free access. Information and countless resources are at our fingertips.
Can we really afford to be as naïve as to believe this to be permanent?
Take television as an example. I remember when most people used radial antenna signals to view television programs. These were free. You only paid for the television, not the service. In came cable and satellite offering diverse programming catered to your own individual preferences. This convenient service was not free.
Is this where the Internet is heading? Where the future of social media lies?
Perhaps this is the future. Offering specific niche channels of networks and services catered to your own preferences. But isn’t that what Furling is?
I don’t know what the answer is, but I know we’ll end up paying for it.