Over the past two decades, social media have become a crucial and omnipresent cultural and economic phenomenon, which has seen platforms come and go and advance technologically. In this study, we explore the further development of social media regarding interactive technologies, platform development, relationships to news media, the activities of institutional and organizational users, and effects of social media on the individual and the society over the next five to ten years by conducting an international, two-stage Delphi study. Our results show that enhanced interaction on platforms, including virtual and augmented reality, somatosensory sense, and touch- and movement-based navigation are expected. AIs will interact with other social media users. Inactive user profiles will outnumber active ones. Platform providers will diversify into the WWW, e-commerce, edu-tech, fintechs, the automobile industry, and HR. They will change to a freemium business model and put more effort into combating cybercrime. Social media will become the predominant news distributor, but fake news will still be problematic. Firms will spend greater amounts of their budgets on social media advertising, and schools, politicians, and the medical sector will increase their social media engagement. Social media use will increasingly lead to individuals’ psychic issues. Society will benefit from economic growth and new jobs, increased political interest, democratic progress, and education due to social media. However, censorship and the energy consumption of platform operators might rise.
Studen, L., & Tiberius, V. (2020): Social media, quo vadis? Prospective development and implications, Future Internet, 12(9), 146, doi:10.3390/fi12090146.