Get ready for less talk about social media, and more talk about the social layer and cross-platform interaction.
As much as I hate the term “social media,” it is what it is. Like “web 2.0″ before it, the term has been a useful rallying point for the marketing of online interaction.
I think the hype is finally winding down, and that means we can start looking at its legacy. Social media as we use it now is going to vanish before we know it. Just like Web 2.0, we won’t notice that it’s faded away, it just will.
With every new Pinterest, the whole thing shifts a little bit more and the fragmentation of your life online becomes a little bit more frustrating. Each platform, be it Facebook, Twitter or Whatever starts to feel more like a platform and less like the internet.
So what’s the legacy? I think you can see it in all the sharing buttons and integrated commenting systems everywhere. Sites don’t exclusively implement Facebook integration or Twitter integration. Regardless of who has the dominant platform, everyone wants to make sure that all their visitors can interact and share content socially.
Sites are integrating a social layer that lets people connect and share using the platform of their choice, and that social layer has become the internet’s commenting system. This layer is quickly becoming platform agnostic, and we’ll soon see more sophisticated attempts at an open social layer that does all the platform integration for you: a dashboard that connects your blog and all your subscribed platforms.
We’re already pretty close to that, and we’ll soon be looking back on the “social media craze” as being a temporary but necessary step in the evolution of the web.