This year, Wired magazine hosted their inaugural conference to bring together a community of innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs who are defining the future.
Speakers covered a mind-bending range of topics from robotics, behavioural economics, product design and 3D printing. Unsurprisingly, social media was a hot topic and on the second day of the conference. Joanna Shields, VP of Facebook EMEA, talked to us about social media and the future of Facebook:
Facebook – privacy concerns
One of the greatest criticisms that has been directed at Facebook is its handling of members’ data and the risk of private information being used without permission for commercial gain. Shields argued that Facebook is a unique piece of innovation and that, “there is always anxiety about innovation.” In the same way that consumers were originally uncertain about the use of caller ID on phones, so it is that ideas and attitudes about transparency change over time.
All Facebook can do, said Shields, was to ensure that it is as open and transparent about the way that it handles members’ data – which is why they made their privacy settings more accessible last year.
Of course, with the conference based in London, another issue in many minds was the relationship between social media and the recent riots in the city.
Shield’s response was somewhat predictable – that Facebook needs to make sure it can educate people on how it works and how it doesn’t. And that ultimately, as it is based on true identity, Facebook cannot be a mass organising tool for the anonymous – if people try to use it in this way, they’re going to get caught.
The next big thing? It will be music
Facebook is in the middle of some if the biggest changes it has ever made to the user experience. The introduction of the timeline means that members’ personalities will be able to shine through on their timeline like never before. This means opportunities surrounding very specific Facebook apps which can be used by the individual to contribute to and reflect their personal passions.
Of course, with all the data on Facebook, the lucrative enterprise opportunities have previously been focused on gaming, however Shields gave us some insight that the next big ‘thing’ would be music. With the integration of music apps into Facebook, the social media platform aims to make music more engaging, more fun and more personal.