The Future of Social Media is XR
On my YouTube suggestions feed there are videos by Gary Vaynerchuk, Tim Schmoyer, Sean Cannell, Benji Travis and Roberto Blake. If you have to ask who these names are, you most likely aren’t working on building a social media audience. But that shouldn’t stop you if you are interested in social XR(VR/AR/MR). Two years ago I looked at what these influencers were teaching and I knew I would never catch up. I had their skills but not the time needed to become a leading figure in the same way. So instead I started to imagine where the natural progression of social media would go and where technology in social media would take us. Naturally I turned these predictions into a talk titled “VR and Cat Gifs”. (Cat Gifs were a metaphor for attention disruption) In the talk I laid out the next wave of social media influencers beyond the gurus I listed above. This new wave would include 3 classes of the content creators I labeled The Designer, The Maker and The Casual.
The Maker is the closest content creator to what we have now. They come from a traditional film making background but navigated towards 360 filmmaking. They would be interested in live feeds and motion graphics with a flair for comedy, storytelling or how-to tutorials. I’m still waiting for that travel vlogger who builds their audience on 360 content. Believe me, that person is coming with a huge following.
The Casual is the personality that quickly learns new apps and can leverage their content. They will build their audience off apps or platforms that don’t require a lot of technical knowledge. Kinda like how people got famous on snapchat or reddit but for VR. This is where platforms like Altspace will shine.
We are starting to see some of these predictions come true. Influencers are turning to AR tools to help improve their creative content. Snapchat made the claim recently that their NPC “hot dog guy” is the world’s first AR star. The influencer company IZEA is continuously working on an AR tool to connect influencers with brands to create sponsored content. To me these are just the top part of a very large iceberg that has yet to be discovered by the public.
Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo have all updated their platforms to accept 360 video content. This is great because when you give the power to earn money from content, it becomes a marketplace which thus improves content. Steam while mainly a video game and software network has opened up a 360 beta program where users can buy or rent 360 films approved by their staff. While their beta program has a lot of work still, it has huge potential.
We have social networks you can log into right now. The two I like to use are AltSpaceVR and High Fidelity. In the future I plan to hold live shows where I am represented by an avatar and people from all over the world can join me.
Two years ago I looked at what the content that my favorite gurus were teaching and I asked myself what would they have to be teaching in 5–7 years from now. Instead of staying on the road these influencers laid out before so many, I decided to carve out out my own path. It’s too early to see if all my predictions would come true or not. But so far this has been one of the greatest leaps of faith I’ve ever made.
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