The fate of Social Media resides in 2 paths. One which envisions social media platforms to be an online forum for the dead where beloved family and friends can post loving messages. Alternatively, social media platforms may just cease to exist – swiped off the Internet’s interface like it never existed.
Experts use the neologism of a ‘virtual grave doom’ to describe the future.
Did you know?
Yes, humans are social creatures. Aristotle’s psychological aphorism state that animals are naturally oriented towards others – humans have evolved to be no different. It is imperative to recognise the dominant force that shapes thought, behaviour and other neural activity. It is the element of sociality that is deemed our most valuable asset and will eventually run dry without social interaction.
Our primates once communicated with gestures and fire signals, and over a few centuries evolution brought about speech and aural abilities to mankind. The incredible feat of human evolution is evidenced in the gradually shorter and shorter increments of development. The introduction of paging, then fax, to landline phones occurred within just a few years. The Internet was the breakthrough of the 21st century, and that’s when social networks began – and this is where we are currently standing. So what can we expect next? What is the next mode of communication for humankind? Truth is, nobody really know but predictions claim that this transition will commence very shortly.
So, What Are The 2 Potential Futures Of Social Media?
Perhaps social media will turn into a virtual graveyard. Whether it be:
1. Online obituary for the dead
2. A ghost mode of communication
Social media is facing a dead end. There’s no recouping its existence. Humans evolve, as will our surroundings one way or the other.
#1 Online Obituary
At this exponential rate, experts predict that the number of deceased online accounts will exceed the living by the year 2065. Ironically, that is not the problem that we are facing.
The real question lies in whether social media can possibly last that long?
This graphic above from Lifehacker.com explores the future predictions of Facebook users. Whether Facebook stops growing or keeps growing, the resulting outcome is that deceased users on Facebook will eventually outgrow living users.
In such a technologically adept generation, there are 750,000 new users who join social media platforms every single day. According to psychologist Asch’s experiment in 1951, conformity is inherent because “we (tend) to conform because we believe that other’s interpretation of an ambiguous situation if more accurate than our own”. So what does this imply for current online users? There are about 1.23 billion active Facebook users as of early 2014, proportionately one-sixth of the world’s population. The growing expanse of multi-media social platforms available, only serves to construct potentially more ghost user profiles. More profiles created will only mean more ghost profiles when those users pass away.
According to the Loop’s article, deceased accounts will soon overcome the number of active accounts. Does this mean social media like Facebook, will become an online obituary? Something like Heaven’s Address perhaps? Through applying Asch’s study, the generalised conclusion suggests that the rapid moving pace of virtual development coupled with the tendency for conglomerative social adoption, will turn social media platforms into a virtual graveyard.
#2 Ghost Mode of Communication
Just in the first 8 years of Facebook’s creation, there were 30 million Facebook accounts that belong to the deceased.
- 428 die every HOUR
- 10, 273 die every DAY
- 312, 500 die every MONTH
The above numbers are noted to grow every year due to the boom in Facebook use from 2008 to 2012.
iStrategyLabs’ study in honour of Facebook’s 10th year of operation found that Facebook has a 25% drop in active users since 2011. The main concern for online users is that “too much personal information (is) being shared” and the realisation that one’s online presence can’t be totally destroyed. Ironically, the most popular reason for people’s utility of Facebook is contingent on its ‘sharing’ function. Based on the rise (then fall) of MySpace, Joshua Spechler speculates the largest online social network, Facebook is set for a massive and historical fall. He predicts that by 2017, Facebook will lose 80% of its currently active members.