It’s safe to say that 2017 has been a crazy year. And we believe that 2018 will be even crazier. Social media has, since the very beginning, been a place where innovation ruled as the most valuable commodity. It’s a field where change is not only welcome, but it is necessary. Each year brings something new and exciting, and we believe 2018 will be no different. New people, new blood, new tech, new times – all of this brings amazing innovation.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Let’s start with the juiciest and most experimental segment – AR and VR. In December, in 2017, Facebook announced that they are working on an AR (augmented reality) feature for messenger. With it, you will be able to place a 3D object into any photo or video. In the same month, Snapchat announced their own thing, called Lens Studio. This will add a VR feature to Snapchat. It is quite clear, especially when looking at the timing of the announcements, that the behemoths of social media are racing towards implementing AR properly.
Virtual Reality is also being developed, and we are sure that we will see more of it in the future. Right now, the Oculus Rift costs less than an iPhone. And you can be certain that Facebook can’t wait to work on it more. In fact, it already has its own dedicated VR app, called Facebook 360. It’s a hub where you can check out all of the 360 content that’s been posted on Facebook. Facebook is also working on a project named „Spaces“. What it does is that it essentially allows friends to meet up and chat in virtual reality by using the Oculus Rift.
Also, we should mention VR chat. While this is primarily an MMO (massively multiplayer online) game right now, 20 years ago it would have been seen as hard science fiction. There, you can create your own avatar, place your VR headset on, and interact with people from across the globe, in a virtual world. You can walk there, look around, and socialize. People can also modify the actual virtual world, create something new, limited only by their imagination and skill.
It’s just a matter of time until the social media giants decide to do their own thing and create their own dedicated VR chat rooms. The possibilities are endless, and we truly expect to see more concrete implementation of both VR and AR in the very near future.
Style and Aesthetics
From a design and aesthetics standpoint, we have already noticed a couple of trends popping up. The first thing we expect is that cinemagraphs are going to end up everywhere. They are already becoming quite popular, but we believe that they will overtake their GIF cousins. They are a bit lighter and can convey exactly as much as a GIF can if made and used properly. Cinemagraphs are elegant and simple and can be placed almost anywhere.
But, moving away from the simplicity and elegance of a cinemagraph, a new trend seems to be all about bright colours and changes. You may already notice strong and steady brands like Dropbox having dropped their old logos, and have adopted something a bit more sharp and in-your-face. And speaking of in-your-face design, brands like Adidas and Nike are using very striking and original fonts in their most current ads. These fonts are bold and seem custom-made and handwritten and they, above all, catch ones attention.
We may also (finally) see the death of the stock image. Or, rather, a significant decrease. Social media is not the only place where we will see this change – rather, it’s everywhere. Web development experts are moving away from boring and traditional stock images, and are actually pushing hard to get original artwork. More and more, you will see hand-drawn symbols, icons, and illustrations gracing the internet. And not only are you going to see more original images on websites, the trend seems to point towards something quite wild. The modern designer will eschew the old rules and limitations, and focus on simply doing his or her thing.
Focus – Gen Z and Live Stream
One thing that is apparent is the change in focus. Namely, Millennials are becoming less important for social media groups, and the target audience now is Generation Z. And just in case you’re wondering, Millenials are people that reached adulthood around 2008, while generation Z is anybody born after 1996. And the reason for this change of focus is that they are just now becoming adults and gaining actual buying power. Gen Z is a relatively new and untapped market.
The most popular platforms for Gen Z right now are Snapchat and Instagram, so you should turn your attention to them accordingly. We expect even more innovation and development with these two apps. But, in general, you can expect a boom in all trends, not just social media, that are connected and associated to Generation Z.
We are living in strange and exciting times, where tech is changing rapidly, and the internet follows suit. And that’s exactly what makes them glorious. We expect crazy new styles and designs on social media platforms, but also more live interaction between users via live streaming. From the new generation that, with all its faults, will certainly bring something new to the table, to the exciting advances in virtual and augmented reality technologies, 2018 sure does look bright.