This video will make way more sense when you read the backstory from my previous post.
Video: Note the cool makeshift visuals
Transcript: Makes somewhat less sense without the cool visuals
This is Aneta Key, bringing you facts and ideas worth playing with.
I’m excited today to introduce to you an idea at the intersection of social media and computer brain interface with multiple applications and huge market potential.
As an investor, you care about “the what,” “the who,” and “the how.” But before that, let me tell you about “the why” in this video segment.
We are talking about social media consumption. Let me break it down. Social media consumption is a function of the users and the use — i.e., how many people out there are using it and how, exactly.
How many people are using social media?
The users are a function of POPULATION and PENETRATION. In your classical business language, it is the size of the pie and the slice of the pie.
POPULATION shows you a typical hockey-stick profile, slow until the mid-’50s and much faster since. In fact, it is estimated to reach 10 billion in my lifetime.
(By the way, the timing of the inflection point of population growth coincides with the births of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Eric Schmidt, and all three are clearly important for Time.)
In a related interesting fact, we can see another hockey stick in human life span. Since available data started 10,000 years BC, humans have lived to their mid-20s for the longest time. Lately, however, we have achieved a multiple of 3 to 4 times that as we eradicate disease. In fact, if you trust the transhumans out there — yeah, yeah, all three of them — we will soon deter death itself. As they say, “Death is wrong.”
The human population is exploding. We have more people living longer. Hence, we have a huge pool of potential users of social media. That is, the population pie is growing.
As for the slice, well, let’s look at the PENETRATION, or how many people are reached with social media. A few explosive trends here: obviously, explosive growth of the internet, mobile, and social. Facebook is surpassing a billion users and actively looking for the next billion. Similarly, in China, you have a billion users of a single social network and there are many, many more out there. In fact, nowadays, even Google+ has some users.
[April 2019 update: Turns out my snickering joke toward Google+ was well founded. Google+ folded in 2019 for lack of users.]
If social media consumption is a function of users and use, we’ve just established that the users will inevitably grow. Now let’s look at the use.
How are people using social media?
First, let me start with some empirical evidence.
We, my friends, use social media a lot. Say I post on Facebook something like this: “I got seed funding for my startup!!!!!” I wait for an hour, and what do I see? I get 39 likes and 11 comments. Another hour, and my likes go to 59, comments to 15. Another hour, 83 likes, 21 comments, a few private messages, texts, phone calls.
(I love you guys. You are the bestest friends.)
Let’s look at what’s happening in more general terms. Well, a few things.
First, when people use social networks, they feel connected to their friends. In fact, studies show that the brain experiences endorphins after a short few-minute engagement with social media. People equally enjoy learning about what others care about and how they’re doing, and hearing back from them.
Another thing that is happening is that many users really like the likes. The likes inflate their “VEGO” like a huge, pulsating red balloon. For those not familiar with my term “VEGO,” that is our virtual ego. It is often hungry for more likes. Be warned, it can be quite vulnerable. In this chart, it’s represented by the surface area. It inflates with likes and comments.
Back to the business case: A third thing that’s happening is that as the internet adds googles and oodles of data every moment, a rational way to filter all that info overload is to read the personalized stream of news and interpretations posted by our own friends.
A fourth thing is, of course, the experience of “FOMO.” Not to be confused with “MOFO,” “FOMO” stands for “fear of missing out,” which makes it very difficult to unplug.
All these things, and many more, lead to us simply killing time. When it comes to time, I bet many more of us would agree with the transhumans: “Death is wrong.”
The story on the use turns out to be a bit more nuanced. We use social media for love and for fear, for purely rational and “VEGO” rational needs. It does kill Time. Often, Time goes before its time and is preventing us from allowing Time to reach its potential.
Call for action: Like responsibly!
Let me layer a parallel between drinking and social media to clarify.
Like drinking, small doses can be relaxing, fun, and — well — social. Yet drinking can lead to things like hangovers, DUIs, and addiction, not to mention many awkward moments. Now, the good news is we have experience with drinking pretty much since the time we have data on human life span. Thousands of years of experience. We already know that the happy medium is often called for in life, as those “drink responsibly” campaigns demonstrate. We also know that changing human behavior is tricky and goes beyond pure awareness.
That is why I believe there is huge potential for us to address how we consume social media for the sake of Time — at least until the transhumans figure out how to cure death and give us all the time in the world to kill Time.
What is it we are talking about? The possibilities are endless. Sure, we can build mobile apps, such as “Facebook Ate Ur Time,” or “FATE” in short. Or for the Bulgarians “Фейса ти изпи мозъка.” We can use Google+ Hangout platform for things like “junkies anonymous.” Or, use Facebook group chat to come together with “This an intervention, my friend.”
We can get so much further with the latest breakthroughs in science, neuroplasticity, and computer brain interface. We truly could build amazing things that could blow our minds.
But for now, we are keeping our efforts stealth. As you know, in Silicon Valley that is a code for, “We need to figure out what the hell we are doing. How to optimize reach, monetization, and, of course, glorification.”
In the meantime, I’m excited to reveal to you something quite public and open for everyone to join. An idea; nay, a campaign; nay, a global social phenomenon called “Like Responsibly” designed by you, for you, anyway you like it. I personally like to describe it as one small step for us, one giant step for the penetrated people of the world.
You’re familiar with the many “Drink responsibly” campaigns developed by the top creative agencies out there. In our case, we need to do better. We know people quickly ignore these campaigns, for they lack unpredictability and personalization, and each campaign expires too soon.
Secondly, we can do better in a P2P world. By P2P, I mean “person to person.” We are users, and authors, and sensors, and promoters. This campaign can indeed be designed by you, for you, anyway you like it. It can be continuously fresh and it can have a natural selection decide what works and what doesn’t. I would appeal for us to unleash the collective creativity and talents of the human race, starting with our own small friend circle.
You can start now by submitting your ideas for posters, viral campaigns, gamification schemes and online, offline experiences. For visuals just jot on paper snap and share. For ideas simply put in comments.
April Fool’s Day!!!
I love you guys. Thank you so much for playing with me.
Written by Aneta Key. Original video posted in April 2014. This blog post last edited April 2019.