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Where is Social Media Heading? Trends to Recognize for 2013

Last month I caught a post on Facebook by one of my teen-aged son’s friends: “I don’t know what to say on FB anymore because I always feel like whatever I put should actually be a tweet.”

I could have sent him a Facebook comment explaining how he could link Twitter to Facebook and in essence publish to both. But then I realized, Why isn’t he reading Facebook anymore? Recently, it was reported that the first decline of text messaging by teens has occurred since the invention of texting, and I am left wondering if this is really actually another shift in communication trends. Considering the technology teens use today, it’s clear that they have fully adopted, and in a few cases started to discard, what the working generation is still calling “the social movement.”

My children have always been early adopters of technology – probably because I worked for Qualcomm in the crazy days of establishing telecommunication standards, and my husband worked with LG’s cell phone division for 13 years when they were young. Here is a window into what I’ve learned about ‘social’ from my two teens – a Millennial and a Gen Z-er – this year:

  • “Don’t tag me on pictures on Facebook – I don’t look at them anymore. Can’t you just upload them to Instagram?”
    In early 2012, the transition to Instagram for the features and the community really took over Facebook. Granted, many family and friends still watch Facebook for the latest, including photos.
  • Me: Why do you keep taking pictures of yourself while texting?
    “We’re visually texting.”
    What? The program is Snapchat, also on Instagram. Users take a picture of their facial reaction to a text and send it with the text response. Not quite to live video, but certainly much more personal and interactive than a basic text. My daughter refers to it as ‘adding the personal back into text messaging’ (wise beyond her years, and obviously my child).
  • Me (simply): What are you doing?
    “Hanging out with my friends.”
    In this case, my son’s friends are scattered around the country, most of which he has met at various volunteer programs, events and conferences. And by “hang out” he means Google+ Hangouts. Looking over his shoulder, I saw eight teenagers, each one of them entertaining themselves by drawing different cartoon character features over their pictures while they catch up.

What does this mean for recruiting and HR? Most of these teens are or will be in the services industry (cashier, waiter, clerk, etc.) within the year, and in four to five years they’ll be entering the workforce with professional or trade credentials. Is your organization staying on top of the technology trends in order to recruit and retain this next generation to your organization? How will technology morph as they become the developers?

It leaves me to wonder if holographic presence might be in the workforce by 2020.