Trying to predict what social media will look like in 12 months’ time isn’t easy.

Sometimes the changes which everyone is convinced will capture the public’s imagination fall flat or never materialise.

On other occasions, the tweaks are made, but take a longer time to arrive than expected and don’t necessarily live up to the hype.

A prime example is Twitter’s decision earlier this year to double the 140 character limit it had kept in place since its launch.

This was undoubtedly a significant step for the platform, but not exactly the unlimited allowance that had some had been convinced was on the horizon.

Predictions are also problematic because they tend to focus on those tools which the social media giants are themselves excited about unveiling and which, as a consequence, tend to get mentioned at trade stands and events.

Adjustments which are likely to be less popular are inevitably trailed rather less. This is why not many round-ups at the end of last year would have picked up on Facebook’s plans to restrict the extent to which users could edit links shared on their pages.

This example does suggest, however, that it sometimes pays to look at general trends when trying to work out how the year ahead may unfold.

While the specific changes that Facebook has since introduced were not being talked about a year ago, the concerns about ‘fake news’ which prompted the social media giant to act were very much dominating debate.

So in trying to work out what 2018 might have in store, maybe it’s worth look less at the speculation about tomorrow and more about the topics which are preoccupying columnists and commentators today

Categories: Blog