Before looking to the future, we must look to the influences of the past. When technology was growing rapidly during the late 20th century, it fundamentally shook social roots to their core and has since manipulated the socio-cultural trends, redefining everything from consumerism to communication. A world where alienation between us was silently permitted has transitioned into one where instantaneous connections over thousands of miles is made every second, in little more than ten years.
Human desire for connection is one of the driving forces of the booming social media industry, with sites like Facebook surpassing the likes of Google as the highest trafficked site in the United States in 2010 (Sherman, 2011). Beyond drawing connections between brands and consumers, Facebook and similar sites reinforce our embodied relationships and help to form new ones.
So why does social media have such a prominent influence on our future?
Because it’s likely that inter-human connection is only going to become more prominent. With the rise of virtual reality headsets, it’s likely that our two needs for connection and entertainment may combine into a new era of augmented reality.
The augmented reality glasses have been a pop culture item that is reoccurring throughout futuristic movies, and whilst the idea might be far-fetched, the concept might be implemented in more widespread devices such as smartphones and other hand-held devices.
Retrieved from http://www.augment.com/how-augmented-reality-works/
In the future, you might be able to look at a complete stranger through a camera and browse their general information with ease, or immerse yourself in games that encompass all five of your senses, thinning the line between the digital and the real.
Augmented reality systems, whilst innovative, are scarily closer to widespread commercialisation than many might think. With the rise of AR viewers, browsers, and games (Pokémon Go, anyone?) it’s likely that this trend will develop in the very, very near future. Whether or not we stay immersed is up to us.
AUGMENT (n.d.) How Augmented Reality Works. Retrieved from http://www.augment.com/how-augmented-reality-works/
Sherman, A., (2011) Facebook passes Google as most visited US site. Retrieved from http://archive.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2011/01/01/facebook_passes_google_as_most_visited_us_site/
Header image retrieved from http://journal.frontiersin.org/journal/communication