I think it’s safe by now to say that social media is here to stay. It’s not a fad anymore. In fact, to many in the industry, social media is the gateway to a future of seamless social communications that will (get ready for it) re-humanize the Internet. If you take a look back at the evolution of social media, you can see that it’s not about specific websites or applications that social media live within but rather innovations that move the socialization of the internet forward. It started with sharing services like Napster, and then custom AIM/AOL profiles, blogs, MySpace, etc.

Here to stay

Social media will be incorporated into much of our daily lives – mainly due to the growing popularity of smart phone devices, but even those will be different from what they are now. As the socialization of technology evolves, it will be less efficient to measure the reach and influence of your personal brand through factors like Twitter followers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, etc. So when it comes to bulking up your online influence, don’t get caught up in numbers, because numbers won’t matter as much anymore. Looking at today’s major social media drivers, there are some key goals that the brand-conscious should consider.

LinkedIn: Connections vs. Recommendations

Having a large number of LinkedIn connections is great, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot, and in the future it will mean even less. Strong recommendations and reliable connections are what will give your personal brand strength.

Twitter: Followers vs. Re-Tweets

Between 2009 and 2010 the growth of Twitter was crazy. Everyone was following everyone, because they wanted more followers themselves. There is so much clutter on Twitter now, that visibility is even harder. In the future having a large following won’t be as valuable as having content that people are actually reading and sharing.

Facebook: Fans vs. Advocates

Many brands go into Facebook with one objective: fans fans fans. Fans are great, and they’re important to the lifeblood of your Facebook page. But at the end of the day it’s better to have a smaller number of highly engaged fans than a large number of dormant fans.