Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus in the Year 2020

By Spicer Matthews

Predicting the future in writing has never been my thing—that’s what talking heads in the media get paid to do. But today I am allowing myself to make a prediction about how Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus will be used in 2020. It will be fun—and 6 years from now we can look back and see if I was even close to right. I am prompted to make this prediction as I try to figure out when, where, and how I should use these services because today there seems to be a lot of overlap. Here goes...

Facebook—The same, more or less. Facebook will continue to be the place to connect with our friends. It will be the digital coffee shop where we gather, communicate, and share with people we know from the real (nondigital) world.

Twitter—The cocktail party for the masses. Twitter will be the place where people who might not know each other exchange ideas. A place for both celebrities and regular Joes. There will be less “look at what I ate today” and more real-time, meaningful dialog between strangers. Also, Twitter will be the place where news breaks (which will then be chronicled in depth on Google Plus).

Google Plus—The newspaper of tomorrow. I believe that Google Plus will become our primary source for content about what’s going on in the world—and our backyards. Our streams will, of course, be personalized to our interests, but instead of picking up a New York Times or scanning our RSS feed, we will use Google Plus.

Maybe it’s best to illustrate my prediction with an example. If Shakira were to release an album in the year 2020 the following would happen: rumors about the album would first appear on Twitter, then the album would be released on Google Plus and Shakira would promote the album and discuss it with fans on Twitter, and we would chat about how much we liked the album with our friends on Facebook.

The point is that today we tend to lump the 3 major social networks into a single social networking category— and then debate which is best. I think in the future it will be very clear that Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are 3 distinct platforms with very different purposes.