by Meher Masalawala

Social media is expanding at an exponential rate with every year bringing advancements that alter the landscape of human interaction. 2017 has seen some interesting changes on platforms that we’ve grown accustomed to over the years, the most recent being Twitter increasing its word count to 280 characters as opposed to its original 140. Here are some other developments we saw on social media over the course of the past year, and what’s expected to come in 2018:

Augmented Reality
The augmented reality (AR) phenomenon Pokémon Go caused a frenzy when it hit the scene in 2016, and as expected, that technology has continued to be implemented into our daily lives. Snapchat’s filters have become much more advanced, and 3D bitmojis have been added to the mix. Additionally, Apple has fully embraced augmented reality and the new iPhones 8 and X both have sophisticated ARKits that will become more useful as time goes on.

Video Content
On nearly every social media platform, there has been a major shift from static content to video content. From Facebook Live to Instagram Stories to Snapchat Discover, video has proven to be a powerful medium for people to consume content. In general, interactive broadcasting – live video content that streams both ways – is gaining popularity, as evident by the live video features on both Facebook and Instagram.

Short-Term Viewing
Ephemeral content, made mainstream by Snapchat, shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. While Snapchat Stories held the lead for awhile, Instagram Stories are taking over despite being around for a shorter period of time, as Instagram has a significantly higher number of users.

Digital Advertising
Traditional advertising is evolving to meet new demands and expectations of today’s consumers. On the digital side, social e-commerce influencer-driven marketing – brands using the established presence of an individual’s personal brand to drive sales – has seen significant growth. The use of social messaging for advertising is also on the rise, with brands using platforms like WhatsApp (with over one billion members) and Facebook Messenger to reach out to consumers.

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